Genentech Announces Positive Data from Broad Blood Cancer Portfolio at European Hematology Association Annual Meeting

– Long-term data at the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2022 Congress expands understanding of the impact of Genentech medicines in early-stage blood cancers with the goal of providing patients with robust and durable outcomes from their first treatment

– Updated data from Phase III CLL14 study of Venclexta (venetoclax) plus Gazyva (obinutuzumab) showed more than 60% of previously untreated people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia remained in remission five years after starting treatment

– Final analysis of Phase III GALLIUM study showed meaningful improvement in progression-free survival was maintained with Gazyva plus chemotherapy in people with previously untreated follicular lymphoma after eight years of follow-up –

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), announced today that it is presenting new long-term follow-up results and subanalyses from clinical trials of its approved therapies, as well as data on investigational medicines from its broad blood cancer portfolio, at the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2022 Congress in Vienna. Data include five-year results from the Phase III CLL14 study of fixed-duration Venclexta® (venetoclax) plus Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) in previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); the final analysis of the Phase III GALLIUM study of Gazyva plus chemotherapy in people with previously untreated advanced-stage follicular lymphoma (FL); and subanalyses from the Phase III POLARIX study of Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin) in combination with Rituxan® (rituximab) plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone (R-CHP) in people with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Genentech will also present data from its investigational T-cell engaging bispecific antibody development programs including mosunetuzumab and glofitamab in patients receiving later lines of therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and cevostamab and RG6234 in relapsed or refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma (MM).

“Blood cancers remain challenging to treat at all stages, but by improving frontline treatment options we aim to increase the likelihood of meaningful clinical outcomes for these patients,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “With these new long-term data and other studies of fixed-duration therapies in our portfolio, we are working to lessen the treatment burdens associated with long-term cancer care.”

Improving Clinical Outcomes with Effective Frontline Treatment Options

Five-Year Results of Phase III CLL14 Study of Venclexta Plus Gazyva

After a median of 65.4 months following treatment with Venclexta plus Gazyva, results confirm the combination continues to be an effective fixed-duration and chemotherapy-free option for patients with previously untreated CLL and coexisting conditions. The estimated investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS) rate at this follow-up was 62.6% with Venclexta plus Gazyva and 27.0% with Gazyva plus chlorambucil, and the estimated overall survival (OS) rate was 81.9% versus 77.0% (HR 0.72; 95% CI: 0.48-1.09; p=0.12). In addition, the analysis found that 72.1% of patients in the Venclexta plus Gazyva arm did not require another treatment for CLL in the five years following initial treatment (HR 0.42; 95% CI: 0.31-0.57; p<0.0001). No new safety signals were observed. The CLL14 study is being conducted in cooperation with the German CLL Study Group, headed by Michael Hallek, M.D., University of Cologne.

Final Analysis of Phase III GALLIUM Study of Gazyva

After eight years of follow-up in people with previously untreated FL, a meaningful improvement in PFS was maintained with Gazyva plus chemotherapy, confirming its role as a standard of care for first-line treatment. Seven-year investigator-assessed PFS was significantly improved with Gazyva plus chemotherapy (63.4%) compared with Rituxan plus chemotherapy (55.7%; HR 0.77; 95% CI: 0.64-0.93; p=0.006). This translated into a longer time to next anti-lymphoma treatment. At seven years, 74.1% of patients receiving Gazyva plus chemotherapy had not started new anti-lymphoma therapy compared to 65.4% receiving Rituxan plus chemotherapy (HR 0.71; 95% CI: 0.58-0.87; p=0.001). The incidence of serious adverse events was 48.9% with Gazyva plus chemotherapy and 43.4% with Rituxan plus chemotherapy.

Subgroup Analyses of Pivotal Phase III POLARIX Study

Exploratory subgroup analyses of the Phase III POLARIX study of Polivy with R-CHP compared to the current standard of care, Rituxan plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP), in people with previously untreated DLBCL further support the potential for Polivy to transform the standard of care for people with this aggressive type of lymphoma. One of the datasets being presented is an analysis of study participants from Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan). Among this subgroup, results showed a significant improvement in PFS with Polivy plus R-CHP versus R-CHOP, reducing the risk of disease progression, relapse or death by 36% (HR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.40-1.03). The safety profile was generally comparable for both regimens.

Based on the positive POLARIX results from the overall study population, the European Commission (EC) approved Polivy plus R-CHP in May 2022 for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated DLBCL.

Providing Novel Bispecific Antibodies for Patients Receiving Later Lines of Therapy in Lymphoma and Beyond

Pivotal Data from Phase II NP30179 Expansion Study of Glofitamab

The pivotal Phase II NP30179 expansion study included patients with heavily pre-treated and highly refractory DLBCL and showed fixed-duration glofitamab, an investigational CD20xCD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibody, induced high and durable complete response (CR) rates. After a median follow-up of 12.6 months, 39.4% of patients (n=61/155) achieved a CR (primary efficacy endpoint) and half of them (51.6%; n=80/155) achieved an overall response (the percentage of patients with a partial or CR; secondary efficacy endpoint), as assessed by an independent review committee. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) was the most common adverse event, occurring in 63.0% of patients. These data were recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2022 Annual Meeting and have been submitted for approval to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Submissions to additional health authorities worldwide, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are planned this year.

Subgroup Analysis and Mosunetuzumab Retreatment from Pivotal Phase II GO29781 study

An exploratory subgroup analysis showed mosunetuzumab could be an efficacious and tolerable option in patients aged <65 and ≥65 years who had R/R FL and had received two or more prior therapies. Patients ≥65 years old achieved a higher objective response rate (ORR) than those <65 years old (87.0% vs 77.0%, respectively). Lower rates of CRS and serious adverse events were observed in patients ≥65 years old (37%) compared to those <65 years old (52%). Additional data from the GO29781 study showed that retreatment with mosunetuzumab in patients who achieved a CR but whose disease subsequently progressed was effective and the safety of retreatment was consistent with initial treatment.

The EC recently approved mosunetuzumab for the treatment of people with R/R FL who have received at least two prior systemic therapies. The U.S. FDA granted mosunetuzumab Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Orphan Drug Designation for this same patient group.

The data being presented at EHA, as well as Phase III studies currently underway, will expand the understanding of glofitamab and mosunetuzmab and their impact in both later and earlier lines of treatment, with the aim of providing robust and durable treatment outcomes for people with different types of lymphomas.

Early Data from Novel Investigational Bispecific Antibodies in R/R MM

In line with Genentech’s commitment to improving outcomes and personalizing care for people with blood cancer, the company has expanded beyond lymphoma and leukemia, evaluating two investigational medicines in MM. This is the third most common type of blood cancer, diagnosed in more than 170,000 people around the world each year and involves plasma cells (antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow). Although advances in treatment have improved outcomes, MM remains an incurable disease characterized by multiple relapses, with an overall five-year survival rate of about 55%. Genentech is presenting data at EHA on cevostamab, an investigational FcRH5xCD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibody that is being evaluated as a monotherapy and in combination with other medicines to treat people with R/R MM, and on RG6234, a novel GPRC5DxCD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibody that is being studied in a Phase I trial in people with R/R MM. While early, the clinical activity and safety profiles observed with these molecules look encouraging and support further exploration.

About Venclexta

Venclexta is a first-in-class targeted medicine designed to selectively bind and inhibit the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein. In some blood cancers and other tumors, BCL-2 builds up and prevents cancer cells from dying or self-destructing, a process called apoptosis. Venclexta blocks the BCL-2 protein and works to help restore the process of apoptosis.

Venclexta is being developed by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. It is jointly commercialized by the companies in the United States and commercialized by AbbVie outside of the United States. Together, the companies are committed to research with Venclexta, which is currently being studied in clinical trials across several types of blood cancers.

Venclexta Indications

Venclexta is a prescription medicine used:

  • to treat adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).
  • in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine to treat adults with newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who:

    ‒ are 75 years of age or older, or

    ‒ have other medical conditions that prevent the use of standard chemotherapy.

It is not known if Venclexta is safe and effective in children.

Important Safety Information

What is the most important information patients should know about Venclexta?

Venclexta can cause serious side effects, including:

Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause kidney failure, the need for dialysis treatment, and may lead to death. The patient’s doctor will do tests to check their risk of getting TLS before they start taking Venclexta. The patient will receive other medicines before starting and during treatment with Venclexta to help reduce the risk of TLS. The patient may also need to receive intravenous (IV) fluids into their vein.

The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check for TLS when the patient first starts treatment and during treatment with Venclexta. It is important for patients to keep appointments for blood tests. Patients should tell their doctor right away if they have any symptoms of TLS during treatment with Venclexta, including fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, confusion, shortness of breath, seizures, irregular heartbeat, dark or cloudy urine, unusual tiredness, or muscle or joint pain.

Patients should drink plenty of water during treatment with Venclexta to help reduce the risk of getting TLS.

Patients should drink 6 to 8 glasses (about 56 ounces total) of water each day, starting 2 days before the first dose on the day of the first dose of Venclexta, and each time a dose is increased.

The patient’s doctor may delay, decrease the dose, or stop treatment with Venclexta if the patient has side effects. When restarting Venclexta after stopping for 1 week or longer, the patient’s doctor may again check for the risk of TLS and change the patient’s dose.

What patients should not take Venclexta?

Certain medicines must not be taken when the patient first starts taking Venclexta and while the dose is being slowly increased because of the risk of increased TLS.

  • Patients should tell their doctor about all the medicines they take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Venclexta and other medicines may affect each other causing serious side effects.
  • Patients must not start new medicines during treatment with Venclexta without first talking with their doctor.

Before taking Venclexta, patients must tell their doctor about all of their medical conditions, including if they:

  • Have kidney or liver problems.
  • Have problems with body salts or electrolytes, such as potassium, phosphorus, or calcium.
  • Have a history of high uric acid levels in the blood or gout.
  • Are scheduled to receive a vaccine. Patients should not receive a “live vaccine” before, during, or after treatment with Venclexta, until the patient’s doctor tells them it is okay. If the patient is not sure about the type of immunization or vaccine, the patient should ask their doctor. These vaccines may not be safe or may not work as well during treatment with Venclexta.
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Venclexta may harm an unborn baby. If the patient is able to become pregnant, the patient’s doctor should do a pregnancy test before the patient starts treatment with Venclexta, and the patient should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 30 days after the last dose of Venclexta. If the patient becomes pregnant or thinks they are pregnant, the patient should tell their doctor right away.
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Venclexta passes into the patient’s breast milk. Patients are instructed to not breastfeed during treatment with Venclexta and for 1 week after the last dose.

What to avoid while taking Venclexta:

Patients should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit, Seville oranges (often used in marmalades), or starfruit while they are taking Venclexta. These products may increase the amount of Venclexta in the patient’s blood.

What are the possible side effects of Venclexta?

Venclexta can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia). Low white blood cell counts are common with Venclexta, but can also be severe. The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check their blood counts during treatment with Venclexta and may pause dosing.
  • Infections. Death and serious infections such as pneumonia and blood infection (sepsis) have happened during treatment with Venclexta. The patient’s doctor will closely monitor and treat the patient right away if they have a fever or any signs of infection during treatment with Venclexta.

Patients should tell their doctor right away if they have a fever or any signs of an infection during treatment with Venclexta.

The most common side effects of Venclexta when used in combination with obinutuzumab or rituximab or alone in people with CLL or SLL include low white blood cell count; low platelet count; low red blood cell count; diarrhea; nausea; upper respiratory tract infection; cough; muscle and joint pain; tiredness; and swelling of arms, legs, hands, and feet.

The most common side effects of Venclexta in combination with azacitidine or decitabine or low-dose cytarabine in people with AML include nausea; diarrhea; low platelet count; constipation; low white blood cell count; fever with low white blood cell count; tiredness; vomiting; swelling of arms, legs, hands, or feet; fever; infection in lungs; shortness of breath; bleeding; low red blood cell count; rash; stomach (abdominal) pain; infection in your blood; muscle and joint pain; dizziness; cough; sore throat; and low blood pressure.

Venclexta may cause fertility problems in males. This may affect the ability to father a child. Patients should talk to their doctor if they have concerns about fertility.

These are not all the possible side effects of Venclexta. Patients should call their doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or Report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Please see the Venclexta full Prescribing Information, including the Medication Guide, for additional Important Safety Information.

About Gazyva

Gazyva is an engineered monoclonal antibody designed to attach to CD20, a protein found only on certain types of B-cells. It is thought to work by attacking targeted cells both directly and together with the body’s immune system. Gazyva is part of a collaboration between Genentech and Biogen. Combination studies investigating Gazyva with other approved or investigational medicines, including cancer immunotherapies and small molecule inhibitors, are underway across a range of blood cancers.

Gazyva Indications

Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) is a prescription medicine used:

  • With the chemotherapy drug, chlorambucil, to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in adults who have not had previous CLL treatment.
  • With the chemotherapy drug, bendamustine, followed by Gazyva alone for follicular lymphoma (FL) in adults who did not respond to a rituximab-containing regimen, or whose FL returned after such treatment.
  • With chemotherapy, followed by Gazyva alone in those who responded, to treat stage II bulky, III, or IV FL in adults who have not had previous FL treatment.

Important Safety Information

The most important safety information patients should know about Gazyva

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effect they experience. Gazyva can cause side effects that can become serious or life-threatening, including:

  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV): Hepatitis B can cause liver failure and death. If the patient has a history of hepatitis B infection, Gazyva could cause it to return. Patients should not receive Gazyva if they have active hepatitis B liver disease. The patient’s doctor or healthcare team will need to screen them for hepatitis B before, and monitor the patient for hepatitis during and after, their treatment with Gazyva. Sometimes this will require treatment for hepatitis B. Symptoms of hepatitis include: worsening of fatigue and yellow discoloration of skin or eyes.
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare and serious brain infection caused by a virus. PML can be fatal. The patient’s weakened immune system could put them at risk. The patient’s doctor will watch for symptoms. Symptoms of PML include: confusion, difficulty talking or walking, dizziness or loss of balance, and vision problems.

Who should not receive Gazyva:

Patients should NOT receive Gazyva if they have had an allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis or serum sickness) to Gazyva. Patients must tell their healthcare provider if they have had an allergic reaction to obinutuzumab or any other ingredients in Gazyva in the past.

Additional possible serious side effects of Gazyva:

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effect they experience. Gazyva can cause side effects that may become severe or life threatening, including:

  • Infusion Reactions: These side effects may occur during or within 24 hours of any Gazyva infusion. Some infusion reactions can be serious, including, but not limited to, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), acute life-threatening breathing problems, or other life-threatening infusion reactions. If the patient has a reaction, the infusion is either slowed or stopped until their symptoms are resolved. Most patients are able to complete infusions and receive medication again. However, if the infusion reaction is life-threatening, the infusion of Gazyva will be permanently stopped. The patient’s healthcare team will take steps to help lessen any side effects the patient may have to the infusion process. The patient may be given medicines to take before each Gazyva treatment. Symptoms of infusion reactions may include: fast heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness, headache, redness of the face, nausea, chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and chest discomfort.
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions Including Serum Sickness: Some patients receiving Gazyva may have severe or life-threatening allergic reactions. This reaction may be severe, may happen during or after an infusion, and may affect many areas of the body. If an allergic reaction occurs, the patient’s doctor will stop the infusion and permanently discontinue Gazyva.
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): Tumor lysis syndrome, including fatal cases, has been reported in patients receiving Gazyva. Gazyva works to break down cancer cells quickly. As cancer cells break apart, their contents are released into the blood. These contents may cause damage to organs and the heart, and may lead to kidney failure requiring the need for dialysis treatment. The patient’s doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent TLS. The patient’s doctor will also conduct regular blood tests to check for TLS. Symptoms of TLS may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness.
  • Infections: While the patient is taking Gazyva, they may develop infections. Some of these infections may be fatal and severe, so the patient should be sure to talk to their doctor if they think they have an infection. Patients administered Gazyva in combination with chemotherapy, followed by Gazyva alone are at a high risk of infections during and after treatment. Patients with a history of recurring or chronic infections may be at an increased risk of infection. Patients with an active infection should not be treated with Gazyva. Patients taking Gazyva plus bendamustine may be at higher risk for fatal or severe infections compared to patients taking Gazyva plus CHOP or CVP.
  • Low White Blood Cell Count: When the patient has an abnormally low count of infection-fighting white blood cells, it is called neutropenia. While the patient is taking Gazyva, their doctor will do blood work to check their white blood cell count. Severe and life-threatening neutropenia can develop during or after treatment with Gazyva. Some cases of neutropenia can last for more than one month. If the patient’s white blood cell count is low, their doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent infections.
  • Low Platelet Count: Platelets help stop bleeding or blood loss. Gazyva may reduce the number of platelets the patient has in their blood; having low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia. This may affect the clotting process. While the patient is taking Gazyva, their doctor will do blood work to check their platelet count. Severe and life-threatening thrombocytopenia can develop during treatment with Gazyva. Fatal bleeding events have occurred in patients treated with Gazyva. If the patient’s platelet count gets too low, their treatment may be delayed or reduced.

The most common side effects of Gazyva in CLL were infusion reactions, low white blood cell counts, low platelet counts, low red blood cell counts, fever, cough, nausea, and diarrhea.

The safety of Gazyva was evaluated based on 392 patients with relapsed or refractory NHL, including FL (81%), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) (a disease for which Gazyva is not indicated), who did not respond to or progressed within six months of treatment with rituximab product or a rituximab product-containing regimen. In patients with follicular lymphoma, the profile of side effects that were seen were consistent with the overall population who had NHL.


Media Contact:

Priscilla White

(650) 467-6800

Advocacy Contact:

Cem Mangir

(202) 251-4037

Investor Contacts:

Loren Kalm

(650) 225-3217

Bruno Eschli

011 41 61 687 8503

Read full story here