March 7, 2013
Pharmaceutical Company Limited (“Takeda”) today announced that a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) has been submitted to The European Medicines Agency (EMA) for vedolizumab, an investigational, gut-selective humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), the two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If approved, vedolizumab would be the first and only gut-selective biologic agent for UC and CD on the market.
“Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are chronic debilitating diseases with important unmet medical needs, often affecting young people in the prime of their lives,” said Asit Parikh, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, general medicine, Takeda. “We are encouraged by the findings of GEMINI, the vedolizumab Phase 3 clinical development program, which studied approximately 3,000 patients in nearly 40 countries, making it the largest IBD clinical trial program conducted to date.”
Nearly four million people worldwide are affected by IBD, with UC affecting more than 500,000 people and CD affecting approximately 230,000 people in the EU. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Inflammation caused by CD can involve varying areas of the digestive tract, while UC impacts the colon only. CD and UC can be both painful and debilitating, which may sometimes lead to serious complications and can significantly impact the quality of life for patients.
The MAA submission was supported by Phase 3 clinical studies, GEMINI I, GEMINI II, GEMINI III and GEMINI LTS (Long-term Safety), which are part of the GEMINI Studies™, a four-study clinical research program to investigate the efficacy and safety of vedolizumab on clinical response and remission in moderately to severely active CD and UC patients, who had failed at least one conventional or anti-TNFα therapy.
“With a targeted mechanism of action, vedolizumab has clinical promise as a potential treatment option for people with moderate to severely active CD and UC,” said Paul Rutgeerts, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., professor of medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. “While there is no known cure, there is a need for new CD and UC treatment options, in an effort to provide patients with additional choices for managing their disease, reducing symptoms and achieving remission.”
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is marked by inflammation in the lining of the GI tract. CD can impact any part of the digestive tract, and common symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and/or fever. UC impacts the large intestine only, which includes the colon and the rectum. The most common symptoms of UC include abdominal discomfort and blood or pus in diarrhea. There is no known cause for CD or UC, although many researchers believe that the interaction of an outside agent, such as a virus or bacteria, with the body’s immune system may trigger them. No cure exists for CD or UC; the aim of IBD treatments is to induce and maintain remission, or achieve extended periods of time when patients do not experience symptoms.
Vedolizumab was developed for the treatment of CD and UC, as a gut-selective, humanized monoclonal antibody that specifically antagonizes the alpha4beta7 (α4β7) integrin, which is expressed on a subset of circulating white blood cells. These cells have been shown to play a role in mediating the inflammatory process in CD and UC. α4β7 binds with a specific adhesion molecule primarily expressed in the intestinal tract. Therefore, vedolizumab, by preventing this interaction, has a gut selective effect.
About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for patients worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, http://www.takeda.com.
Vedolizumab is a monoclonal antibody being developed by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.It binds to integrin α4β7(LPAM-1, lymphocyte Peyer’s patch adhesion molecule 1).
The molecule was first identified by Dr. Andrew Lazarovits  as the murine MLN0002 homologue. His discovery of the mouse equivalent of this antibody—originally applied to anti-rejection strategies in kidney transplantation—was published in the journal Nature in 1996. The drug was then licensed to Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Boston for further development.
As of October 2009, vedolizumab is undergoing Phase III trials. Clinical trials indicate that Vedolizumab was found safe and highly effective for inducing and maintaining clinical remission in patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis . Dr. Brian Faegan, head researcher, reported an absence of any instances of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which is a particularly important finding . It looks like it will be an effective abiologic agent without some of the toxicity issues previously seen with anti-TNF drugs .
- Statement On A Nonproprietary Name Adopted By The USAN Council – Vedolizumab, American Medical Association.
- Soler, D; Chapman, T; Yang, LL; Wyant, T; Egan, R; Fedyk, ER (2009). “The binding specificity and selective antagonism of vedolizumab, an anti-alpha4beta7 integrin therapeutic antibody in development for inflammatory bowel diseases”. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 330 (3): 864–75. doi:10.1124/jpet.109.153973. PMID 19509315.
- ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00790933 Study of Vedolizumab (MLN0002) in Patients With Moderate to Severe Crohn’s Disease (GEMINI II)