ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) today announced that the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded its review of Iclusig ® (ponatinib) under the Article 20 referral procedure and has recommended that Iclusig continue to be used in Europe in accordance with its already approved indications.

“We are grateful for the rigorous and in-depth review provided by the PRAC and the Scientific Advisory Group for Oncology,” stated Harvey J. Berger, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of ARIAD. “The PRAC recommendation provides insightful guidance to healthcare professionals and patients regarding the use of Iclusig in patients with Ph+ leukemias and importantly, leaves the original Iclusig indication statement unchanged. We look forward to consideration and adoption of these recommendations by the CHMP later this month and authorization by the European Commission by the end of the year.”

The authorized indications of Iclusig in Europe, as approved in July 2013, are as follows:
  • The treatment of adult patients with chronic phase, accelerated phase or blast phase chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who are resistant to dasatinib or nilotinib; who are intolerant to dasatinib or nilotinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate; or who have the T315I mutation, or
  • The treatment of adult patients with Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ ALL) who are resistant to dasatinib; who are intolerant to dasatinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate; or who have the T315I mutation.

Other recommendations made by the PRAC related to the Iclusig Summary of Medicinal Product Characteristics (SmPC) include, (1) patient monitoring for response according to standard clinical guidelines, (2) consideration of Iclusig dose-reduction following achievement of major cytogenetic response with subsequent monitoring of response and, (3) consideration of Iclusig discontinuation if a complete haematologic response has not been achieved by three months. Further information is provided indicating that the risk of vascular occlusive events is likely dose-related. An update of the Warning and Precautions and Undesirable Effects sections is also provided for inclusion in the Iclusig SmPC.

“The recommendation from the PRAC confirms a positive benefit-risk assessment for Iclusig after thorough consideration of updated safety information,” said Stephen G. O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Haematology at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. “This is a good outcome for patients and healthcare professionals in Europe as it continues to offer a treatment option to CML patients who have become resistant to, or intolerant of, certain other TKIs.”

The PRAC is the committee at the EMA that is responsible for assessing and monitoring safety issues for human medicines. The PRAC's recommendations are considered by the CHMP when it adopts opinions for centrally authorized medicines and referral procedures.

About CML and Ph+ ALL

CML is a cancer of the white blood cells that is diagnosed in approximately 7,000 patients each year in Europe [1]. CML is characterized by an excessive and unregulated production of white blood cells by the bone marrow due to a genetic abnormality that produces the BCR-ABL protein. After a chronic phase of production of too many white blood cells, CML typically evolves to the more aggressive phases referred to as accelerated phase and blast crisis. Ph+ ALL is a subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that carries the Ph+ chromosome that produces BCR-ABL. It has a more aggressive course than CML and is often treated with a combination of chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The BCR-ABL protein is expressed in both of these diseases.

About Iclusig ® (ponatinib)

Iclusig is a kinase inhibitor. The primary target for Iclusig is BCR-ABL, an abnormal tyrosine kinase that is expressed in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). Iclusig was designed using ARIAD’s computational and structure-based drug design platform specifically to inhibit the activity of BCR-ABL. Iclusig targets not only native BCR-ABL but also its isoforms that carry mutations that confer resistance to treatment, including the T315I mutation, which has been associated with resistance to other approved TKIs.

About ARIAD

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lausanne, Switzerland, is an integrated global oncology company focused on transforming the lives of cancer patients with breakthrough medicines. ARIAD is working on new medicines to advance the treatment of various forms of chronic and acute leukemia, lung cancer and other difficult-to-treat cancers. ARIAD utilizes computational and structural approaches to design small-molecule drugs that overcome resistance to existing cancer medicines. For additional information, visit http://www.ariad.com or follow ARIAD on Twitter ( @ARIADPharm).

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” including, but not limited to, updates on regulatory developments in Europe. Forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s expectations and are subject to certain factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, outcome of events, timing and performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, a potential decision by the CHMP not to adopt the recommendations of the PRAC or the European Commission not to adopt the recommendation of the CHMP, or, in either case, to adopt the recommendation but with revisions affecting the Company’s ability to successfully commercialize and generate profits from sales of Iclusig; difficulties in commercializing Iclusig arising from the post-marketing approval review process or from its results; the emergence of new safety concerns based on additional adverse events in patients being treated with Iclusig and other risk factors detailed in the Company's public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The information contained in this press release is believed to be current as of the date of original issue. The Company does not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in the Company's expectations, except as required by law.

Iclusig ® is a registered trademark of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Reference:

1. Rohrbacher M, Hasford J. Epidemiology of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2009 Sept;22(3):295-302. Based on current estimate of population of Europe (738,199,000 in 2010).

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