"We are delighted with the positive CHMP opinion, which marks an important step towards providing GCA patients in Europe with an approved treatment option for this debilitating disease," said Sandra Horning, MD, Roche's Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Product Development. "As the first non-steroid therapy to show evidence of efficacy in GCA, Actemra / RoActemra has the potential to fundamentally change how this condition is treated. We are proud to be leading the way in delivering real change for people with GCA and for their physicians."
The positive opinion is based on the outcome of the phase III GiACTA study evaluating Actemra / RoActemra in patients with GCA. The results showed that Actemra / RoActemra, initially combined with a six-month steroid (glucocorticoid) regimen, more effectively sustained remission through 52 weeks (56% in the Actemra / RoActemra weekly group and 53.1% in the Actemra / RoActemra bi-weekly group) compared to 26-week and 52-week steroid tapers given alone (14% and 17.6%, respectively).(1)
Actemra / RoActemra was approved for the treatment of GCA in the United States by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 22 May 2017.
About the GiACTA study
GiACTA (NCT01791153) is a phase III, global, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of Actemra / RoActemra (tocilizumab) as a novel treatment for giant cell arteritis (GCA). It is the largest clinical trial ever conducted in GCA and the first to use blinded, variable-dose, variable-duration steroid regimens. The multicenter study was conducted in 251 patients across 76 sites in 14 countries. The primary and key secondary endpoints were evaluated at 52 weeks.
About Giant Cell Arteritis
Giant cell arteritis (GCA) - also known as temporal arteritis (TA) - is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune condition. GCA has a global impact, usually affects those above the age of 50, and is two-to-three-times more likely to affect women than men.(2) GCA is often difficult to diagnose because of the wide and variable spectrum of signs and symptoms. GCA can cause severe headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain and visual symptoms and if left untreated, can lead to blindness, aortic aneurysm or stroke.2 Treatment to date for people with GCA has been limited to high-dose steroids that play a role as an effective ‘emergency’ treatment option to prevent damage such as vision loss. However, steroids are often unable to maintain long-term disease control (flare-free remission).(3,4,5) Due to the variability of symptoms, complexity of the disease and disease complications, people with GCA are often seen by several physicians including rheumatologists, ophthalmologists and neurologists.
About Actemra / RoActemra (tocilizumab)
Actemra / RoActemra is the first approved anti-IL-6 receptor biologic available in both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) formulations for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Actemra / RoActemra can be used alone or with methotrexate (MTX) in adults who are intolerant to, or have failed to respond to, other anti-rheumatic medications. The most recent European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) RA management guidelines state that Actemra / RoActemra monotherapy has better efficacy, in regard to signs and symptoms, physical function and joint damage, over MTX or other conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The extensive Actemra / RoActemra RA IV clinical development programme included five phase III clinical studies and enrolled more than 4,000 people with RA in 41 countries. The Actemra / RoActemra RA SC clinical development programme included two phase III clinical studies and enrolled more than 1,800 people with RA in 33 countries. In Europe, Actemra / RoActemra IV and SC is also approved for use in adult patients with severe, active and progressive RA who previously have not been treated with MTX. Actemra / RoActemra IV formulation is approved in most major countries for polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) in children two years of age and older. Actemra / RoActemra subcutaneous injection is approved for the treatment of GCA. Actemra / RoActemra was the first therapy approved by the FDA for the treatment of adult patients with GCA. Actemra / RoActemra is part of a co-development agreement with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd and has been approved in Japan since April 2005. Actemra / RoActemra is approved in 115 countries worldwide.
Actemra / RoActemra is also being investigated in a global phase III multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (NCT02453256) for patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) also known as scleroderma. Actemra / RoActemra was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for SSc by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2015.
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1. Stone JH, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Tocilizumab in Patients with Giant Cell Arteritis: Primary and Secondary Outcomes from a Phase 3, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016; 68 (suppl 10).
2. Bhat S, et al. Giant cell arteritis. Midlife and Beyond, GM. Rheumatology. 2010; 071-079.
3. Balsalobre A, et al. Temporal Arteritis: Treatment Controversies. Neurologia. 2010; 25(7): 453-458.
4. Ponte C, et al. Giant cell arteritis: Current treatment and management. World J Clin Cases, 2015; 3(6): 484-494.
5. Chatterjee S, et al. Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Large Vessel Vasculitis: Giant Cell Arteritis. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2014; 16:498.