ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Iclusig ® (ponatinib) full approval for the treatment of adult patients with chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) or Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) for whom no other tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is indicated; and for the treatment of adult patients with T315I-positive CML (chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase) or T315I positive Ph+ ALL. Iclusig was initially approved in December 2012 under the FDA's accelerated approval program, which provides patients earlier access to promising new drugs that treat serious conditions based on a surrogate endpoint while the company conducts additional studies to confirm the drug's clinical benefit. The therapy was granted the FDA's orphan drug designation because it is intended to treat a rare disease or condition. This full approval and label update is based on 48-month follow-up data (as of August 2015) from the pivotal Phase 2 PACE clinical trial of Iclusig in heavily pretreated patients with resistant or intolerant CML or Ph+ ALL. These data were presented at the 2016 meetings of the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the European Hematology Association (EHA). "The data on Iclusig continue to show that with a minimum follow-up of 48 months, many chronic phase CML patients in the PACE trial have retained long-term cytogenetic and molecular responses," stated Timothy P. Clackson, Ph.D., president of research and development and chief scientific officer at ARIAD. "We are pleased to have received full approval of this medicine that was discovered and developed by ARIAD scientists to address rare cancers for patients who may have no other targeted treatment option. With this label update we are also now able to communicate to physicians that patients have experienced deep responses on Iclusig, measured by major molecular response (MMR). We are continuing our efforts to understand the optimal Iclusig dose for patients with the OPTIC ( Optimizing Ponatinib Treatment In CML) post-marketing study." "The longer follow up of the PACE study confirms the clinical benefit of ponatinib in this setting. We had learned from the initial report of the high response rate with ponatinib among CML patients with resistance or intolerance to prior therapies. The four-year follow-up and updated safety profile demonstrate durability of responses in this heavily pre-treated population. These results solidify ponatinib as an important and valuable treatment option for refractory patients with CML where no other TKI therapy is appropriate, including those who have the T315I mutation," stated Jorge Cortes, M.D., professor and deputy chair, Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a leading investigator in the PACE trial.