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POMALYST® (pomalidomide) Label Update Including Progression-Free and Overall Survival Benefits Approved by U.S. FDA

April 23, 2015

SUMMIT, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) today announced it has fulfilled the accelerated approval requirements for POMALYST® (pomalidomide) based on results from MM-003, an international phase III study of POMALYST plus low-dose dexamethasone versus high-dose dexamethasone in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma patients. POMALYST, in combination with dexamethasone is approved for patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy.

"There remains a significant unmet need for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma patients. POMALYST has been able to help thousands of patients since its approval in 2013 and this data now confirms its survival benefits," said Jacqualyn A. Fouse, Ph.D., President, Global Hematology and Oncology for Celgene. "This label update provides important information about a key product in our industry-leading portfolio of therapies for patients with multiple myeloma."

In the MM-003 study, median progression-free survival (PFS), the primary endpoint of the study, was significantly longer with POMALYST plus low-dose dexamethasone (3.6 months) than high-dose dexamethasone (1.8 months: HR 0.45 two-sided 95% CI: 0.35-0.59 p < 0.001). Patients in the POMALYST plus low-dexamethasone arm had a 55% reduction in the risk of progression or death.

The pre-specified, final analysis for overall survival (OS) showed a median OS for the POMALYST plus low-dose dexamethasone arm of 12.4 months (95% CI: 10.4, 15.3), compared to the high-dose dexamethasone arm of 8 months (95% CI: 6.9, 9.0). This survival benefit was statistically significant (HR 0.70 [two-sided 95% CI: 0.54, 0.92], p=0.009) even though 53% of patients in the high-dose dexamethasone arm had subsequently received POMALYST. The hazard ratio of 0.70 equated to a 30% reduction in the risk of death for patients receiving POMALYST plus low-dose dexamethasone. Median PFS and OS were based on the assessment of an Independent Review Adjudication Committee.

POMALYST was initially approved by the FDA in February 2013 under the agency's accelerated approval program based on the phase II study, MM-002.

POMALYST® (pomalidomide) is a thalidomide analogue indicated, in combination with dexamethasone, for patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy.


Important Safety Information


Embryo-Fetal Toxicity


  • POMALYST is contraindicated in pregnancy. POMALYST is a thalidomide analogue. Thalidomide is a known human teratogen that causes severe birth defects or embryo-fetal death. In females of reproductive potential, obtain 2 negative pregnancy tests before starting POMALYST treatment.
  • Females of reproductive potential must use 2 forms of contraception or continuously abstain from heterosexual sex during and for 4 weeks after stopping POMALYST treatment.

POMALYST is only available through a restricted distribution program called POMALYST REMS®.

Venous and Arterial Thromboembolism


  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), myocardial infarction, and stroke occur in patients with multiple myeloma treated with POMALYST. Prophylactic antithrombotic measures were employed in clinical trials. Thromboprophylaxis is recommended, and the choice of regimen should be based on assessment of the patient's underlying risk factors.


  • POMALYST can cause fetal harm and is contraindicated in females who are pregnant. If POMALYST is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus


Embryo-Fetal Toxicity

  • Females of Reproductive Potential: Must avoid pregnancy while taking POMALYST and for at least 4 weeks after completing therapy. Must commit either to abstain continuously from heterosexual sexual intercourse or to use 2 methods of reliable birth control, beginning 4 weeks prior to initiating treatment with POMALYST, during therapy, during dose interruptions, and continuing for 4 weeks following discontinuation of POMALYST therapy. Must obtain 2 negative pregnancy tests prior to initiating therapy
  • Males: Pomalidomide is present in the semen of patients receiving the drug. Males must always use a latex or synthetic condom during any sexual contact with females of reproductive potential while taking POMALYST and for up to 28 days after discontinuing POMALYST, even if they have undergone a successful vasectomy. Males must not donate sperm
  • Blood Donation: Patients must not donate blood during treatment with POMALYST and for 1 month following discontinuation of POMALYST therapy because the blood might be given to a pregnant female patient whose fetus must not be exposed to POMALYST


Because of the embryo-fetal risk, POMALYST is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called "POMALYST REMS®." Prescribers and pharmacies must be certified with the program; patients must sign an agreement form and comply with the requirements. Further information about the POMALYST REMS® program is available at www.CelgeneRiskManagement.com or by telephone at 1-888-423-5436.

Venous and Arterial Thromboembolism: Venous thromboembolic events (DVT and PE) and arterial thromboembolic events (ATE) (myocardial infarction and stroke) have been observed in patients treated with POMALYST. In Trial 2, where anticoagulant therapies were mandated, thromboembolic events occurred in 8.0% of patients treated with POMALYST and low dose-dexamethasone (Low-dose Dex) vs 3.3% treated with high-dose dexamethasone. Venous thromboembolic events (VTE) occurred in 4.7% of patients treated with POMALYST and Low-dose Dex vs 1.3% treated with high-dose dexamethasone. Arterial thromboembolic events include terms for arterial thromboembolic events, ischemic cerebrovascular conditions, and ischemic heart disease. Arterial thromboembolic events occurred in 3.0% of patients treated with POMALYST and Low-dose Dex vs 1.3% treated with high-dose dexamethasone. Patients with known risk factors, including prior thrombosis, may be at greater risk, and actions should be taken to try to minimize all modifiable factors (e.g., hyperlipidemia, hypertension, smoking).

Hematologic Toxicity: In trials 1 and 2 in patients who received POMALYST + Low-dose Dex, neutropenia (46%) was the most frequently reported Grade 3/4 adverse reaction, followed by anemia and thrombocytopenia. Monitor patients for hematologic toxicities, especially neutropenia. Monitor complete blood counts weekly for the first 8 weeks and monthly therafter. Patients may require dose interruption and/or modification.

Hepatotoxicity: Hepatic failure, including fatal cases, has occurred in patients treated with POMALYST. Elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase and bilirubin have also been observed in patients treated with POMALYST. Monitor liver function tests monthly. Stop POMALYST upon elevation of liver enzymes. After return to baseline values, treatment at a lower dose may be considered.

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Angioedema and severe dermatologic reactions have been reported. Discontinue POMALYST for angioedema, skin exfoliation, bullae, or any other severe dermatologic reactions, and do not resume therapy.

Dizziness and Confusional State: In trials 1 and 2 in patients who received POMALYST + Low-dose Dex, 14% experienced dizziness and 7% a confusional state; 1% of patients experienced Grade 3 or 4 dizziness and 3% experienced a Grade 3 or 4 confusional state. Instruct patients to avoid situations where dizziness or confusional state may be a problem and not to take other medications that may cause dizziness or confusional state without adequate medical advice.

Neuropathy: In trials 1 and 2, patients who received POMALYST + Low-dose Dex experienced neuropathy (18%) and peripheral neuropathy (~12%). In trial 2, 2% of patients experienced Grade 3 neuropathy.

Risk of Second Primary Malignancies: Cases of acute myelogenous leukemia have been reported in patients receiving POMALYST as an investigational therapy outside of multiple myeloma.

Tumor Lysis Syndrome: Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) may occur in patients treated with POMALYST. Patients at risk are those with high tumor burden prior to treatment. These patients should be monitored closely and appropriate precautions taken.


Nearly all patients treated with POMALYST + Low-dose Dex experienced at least one adverse reaction (99%). In trial 2, the most common adverse reactions included neutropenia (51.3%), fatigue and asthenia (46.7%), upper respiratory tract infection (31%), thrombocytopenia (29.7%), pyrexia (26.7%), dyspnea (25.3%), diarrhea (22%), constipation (21.7%), back pain (19.7%), cough (20%), pneumonia (19.3%), edema peripheral (17.3%), peripheral neuropathy (17.3%), bone pain (18%), nausea (15%), and muscle spasms (15.3%). Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions included neutropenia (48.3%), thrombocytopenia (22%), and pneumonia (15.7%).


Pomalidomide is primarily metabolized by CYP1A2 and CYP3A. Pomalidomide is also a substrate for P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Avoid the use of strong CYP1A2 inhibitors. If medically necessary to co-administer strong inhibitors of CYP1A2 in the presence of strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 and P-gp, reduce POMALYST dose by 50%. Cigarette smoking may reduce pomalidomide exposure due to CYP1A2 induction. Patients should be advised that smoking may reduce the efficacy of pomalidomide.


Pregnancy: If pregnancy does occur during treatment, immediately discontinue the drug and refer patient to an obstetrician/gynecologist experienced in reproductive toxicity for further evaluation and counseling. Report any suspected fetal exposure to POMALYST to the FDA via the MedWatch program at 1-800-332-1088 and also to Celgene Corporation at 1-888-423-5436.

Nursing Mothers: It is not known if pomalidomide is excreted in human milk. Pomalidomide was excreted in the milk of lactating rats. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for adverse reactions in nursing infants from POMALYST, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness of POMALYST in patients under the age of 18 have not been established.

Geriatric Use: No dosage adjustment is required for POMALYST based on age. Patients > 65 years of age were more likely than patients ≤65 years of age to experience pneumonia.

Renal and Hepatic Impairment: Pomalidomide is metabolized in the liver. Pomalidomide and its metabolites are primarily excreted by the kidneys. The influence of renal and hepatic impairment on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of pomalidomide has not been evaluated. Avoid POMALYST in patients with a serum creatinine > 3.0 mg/dL. Avoid POMALYST in patients with serum bilirubin > 2.0 mg/dL and AST/ALT > 3.0 x ULN.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS.

About MM-003

MM-003 was a Phase III multi-center, randomized, open-label study where POMALYST + low-dose dexamethasone therapy was compared to high-dose dexamethasone in adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, who had received at least two prior treatment regimens, including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of the last therapy. For patients receiving POMALYST + low-dose dexamathasone, 94% were refractory to lenalidomide, and 74% were refractory to both lenalidomide and bortezomib. Patients with creatinine clearance ≥ 45ml/min qualified for the study. A total of 455 patients were enrolled in the study: 302 in the POMALYST + low-dose dexamethasone arm and 153 in the high-dose dexamethasone arm. Patients in the POMALYST + low-dose dexamethasone arm were administered 4 mg POMALYST orally on days 1 to 21 of each 28-day cycle. Dexamethasone (40 mg) was administered once per day on days 1, 8, 15 and 22 of a 28-day cycle. Patients > 75 years of age started treatment with 20 mg dexamethasone using the same schedule. For the high-dose dexamethasone arm, dexamethasone (40 mg) was administered once per day on days 1 through 4, 9 through 12, and 17 through 20 of a 28-day cycle. Patients > 75 years of age started treatment with 20 mg dexamethasone using the same schedule. Treatment continued until patients had disease progression.


POMALYST is a thalidomide analogue indicated in combination with dexamethasone for patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global pharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit www.celgene.com. Follow Celgene on Twitter @Celgene, and on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

POMALYST® is a registered trademark of Celgene Corporation.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, which are generally statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "plans," "will," "outlook" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, assumptions and projections, and speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in light of new information or future events, except as otherwise required by law. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond our control. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of the impact of a number of factors, many of which are discussed in more detail in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Source: Celgene Corporation

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