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Lillys breast cancer drug gets additional FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Eli Lilly’s (NYSE: LLY) Verzenio (abemaciclib) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor (AI) as initial endocrine-based therapy for the treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

The comapny said that this additional FDA approval marks the third indication for Verzenio within five months. In September 2017, Verzenio became the first and only cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4 & 6 inhibitor approved in combination and as a single agent in metastatic breast cancer. Specifically, Verzenio was approved for use in combination with fulvestrant for the treatment of women with HR+, HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy, and as monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with HR+, HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy and prior chemotherapy in the metastatic setting.

This approval of Verzenio as initial therapy in combination with an AI is based on the efficacy and safety demonstrated in the pivotal MONARCH 3 clinical trial.

Verzenio new drug application was given Priority Review as part of the FDA’s Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions, a program used for therapies that address an unmet medical need in the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions, such as metastatic breast cancer. Verzenio was also granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation in 2015 based on the Phase 1 JPBA trial, Lilly said.

“This approval is an important milestone, as it shows that Verzenio plus an aromatase inhibitor substantially reduced tumor size and delayed disease progression in women with HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer. Notably, the MONARCH 3 trial included patients with certain concerning clinical characteristics, such as a pattern of disease that spread to the liver,” said Joyce O’Shaughnessy, M.D., Celebrating Women Chair in Breast Cancer Research and chair, Breast Cancer Research Program, Baylor University Medical Center, Texas Oncology and U.S. Oncology, Dallas, TX. “This information will help inform treatment decisions for each patient, which can be complicated in advanced breast cancer.”

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