Janssen Announces Positive CHMP Opinion for JULUCATM▼ (dolutegravir/rilpivirine)
If approved, stable, virologically suppressed adults living with HIV-1 could have the option to switch to a single-pill, two-drug regimen
Cork, Ireland, 23 March 2018 – The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued a Positive Opinion recommending marketing authorisation for JULUCA™ (dolutegravir 50mg [ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd]/rilpivirine 25mg [Janssen Sciences Ireland UC]). Dolutegravir/rilpivirine is a single-pill, two-drug regimen for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in adults who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA <50 c/mL) on a stable antiretroviral regimen for at least six months with no history of virological failure and no known or suspected resistance to any non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI).
“We are delighted to be one step closer to bringing JULUCA™ to people living with HIV in Europe,” said Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “Building on our 25-year commitment to make HIV history, this is an important milestone towards continuing to grow our portfolio of treatment options, to help meet the diverse and individual needs of people living with HIV.”
Dolutegravir/rilpivirine maintains the efficacy of a traditional three-drug regimen with only two antiretrovirals. If approved, it will be the first single pill, two-drug regimen that could benefit people living with HIV in Europe.
“Approximately two million people in Europe are currently living with HIV. Approval of a single pill, two-drug regimen will reduce the number of antiretrovirals virologically suppressed HIV patients have to take and are exposed to in the long-term, representing a true advancement in HIV care,” said Dr. Josep M Llibre, Infectious Diseases Dept, University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona, Barcelona. “The high potency of each drug allows for a low dose of both antiretrovirals and therefore, once approved, JULUCA™ will be the smallest once-daily single-pill available.”
The CHMP Positive Opinion follows the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of dolutegravir/rilpivirine in November 2017 and is supported by 48-week data from two pivotal Phase 3 trials (SWORD-1 and SWORD-2) and a pivotal bioequivalence study. Data from the SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 trials was recently published in The Lancet (5 January, 2018) and showed that the dolutegravir and rilpivirine regimen is non-inferior to three- and four-drug regimens in maintaining virologic suppression (HIV-1 RNA <50 c/mL) through 48 weeks in adults who are infected with HIV-1 and have no resistance, in both pooled and individual analyses of these Phase 3 studies (dolutegravir+rilpivirine 486/513 [95%] current antiretroviral regimen 485/511 [95%], [adjusted difference -0.2% (95% confidence interval: -3.0%, 2.5%), pooled analysis]). Virologic suppression rates were similar between treatment arms.
The CHMP Positive Opinion will now be reviewed by the European Commission (EC), which has the authority to grant marketing authorisation for medicines in the European Economic Area. The EC’s final decision is anticipated during the second quarter of 2018.
Notes to editors
In June 2014, ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd and Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, announced a collaboration to investigate the potential of combining dolutegravir and rilpivirine in a single-pill in order to expand the treatment options available to people living with HIV.
About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
At the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we are working to create a world without disease. Transforming lives by finding new and better ways to prevent, intercept, treat and cure disease inspires us. We bring together the best minds and pursue the most promising science. We are Janssen. We collaborate with the world for the health of everyone in it. Learn more at www.janssen.com/emea. Follow us at @JanssenEMEA. Janssen Sciences Ireland UC and Janssen Research & Development, LLC are each part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV, so once someone has HIV they have it for life. There is no cure for HIV, but effective treatment can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
HIV has largely become a chronic treatable disease with improved access to antiretroviral treatment. This has led to a 22% drop in global HIV mortality between 2009 and 2013, but more can be done for the estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV of which 160,000 were newly diagnosed in the European region alone in 2016.
Dolutegravir/rilpivirine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 21 November 2017, as a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL) on a stable antiretroviral regimen for at least 6 months with no history of treatment failure and no known substitutions associated with resistance to the individual components of dolutegravir/rilpivirine.
Dolutegravir/rilpivirine is a two-drug regimen, once-daily, single-pill that combines the INSTI dolutegravir (50mg), with the NNRTI rilpivirine (25mg) taken once-daily as a complete HIV regimen for people living with HIV who are virologically suppressed.
Two essential steps in the HIV life cycle include reverse transcription – when the virus turns its RNA (ribonucleic acid) copy into DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – and integration – the moment when viral DNA becomes part of the host cell’s DNA. These processes require two enzymes called nucleoside reverse transcriptase and integrase. NNRTIs and INSTIs interfere with the action of these two enzymes to prevent the virus from replicating. This decrease in replication can lead to less virus being available to cause subsequent infection of uninfected cells.
ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd has also submitted regulatory marketing applications in Canada, Australia and Switzerland.
About the SWORD phase 3 programme for dolutegravir (Tivicay▼) and rilpivirine (EDURANT®)
The SWORD phase 3 programme evaluates the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of switching to dolutegravir plus rilpivirine from current integrase inhibitor-, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-, or boosted protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral regimen in HIV-1-infected adults who are virologically suppressed with a three or four-drug regimen. SWORD-1 (NCT02429791) and SWORD-2 (NCT02422797) are replicate 148-week, randomised, open-label, non-inferiority studies to assess the antiviral activity and safety of a two-drug, daily oral regimen of dolutegravir plus rilpivirine compared with current antiretroviral therapy (full 148-week data will be shared in 2019). In the SWORD clinical trials, dolutegravir and rilpivirine are provided as individual tablets.
The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients with plasma HIV-1 RNA <50 copies per millilitre (c/mL) at Week 48. Key secondary endpoints include evaluation of the development of viral resistance, measurements of safety and tolerability, and changes in renal, bone and cardiovascular biomarkers. The studies also include exploratory measures to assess change in health-related quality of life, willingness to switch and adherence to treatment regimens.
For more information on the trials please visit: www.clinicaltrials.gov
JULUCA™ and Tivicay (dolutegravir) are trademarks owned by the ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd group of companies. Adverse events should be reported. Dolutegravir is subject to additional monitoring and it is therefore important to report any suspected adverse events related to this medicinal product. Reporting forms and information can be found at https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/contact-us/report-a-possible-side-effect/. Adverse events should also be reported to GlaxoSmithKline 0800 221 441.
EDURANT® (rilpivirine) is a registered trademark of Janssen Sciences Ireland UC. It is important to report any suspected adverse events related to this medicinal product. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard. Adverse events should also be reported to Janssen-Cilag Ltd on 01494 567447.
Important Safety Information for dolutegravir/rilpivirine in the European Union: Please refer to the full European Summary of Product Characteristics for full prescribing information for dolutegravir and rilpivirine.
Cautions concerning forward-looking statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding potential approval, availability and benefits of a new treatment options for HIV-1. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of Janssen Research & Development, LLC, any of the other Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and/or Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: challenges and uncertainties inherent in product research and development, including the uncertainty of clinical success and of obtaining regulatory approvals; uncertainty of commercial success; manufacturing difficulties and delays; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges to patents; product efficacy or safety concerns resulting in product recalls or regulatory action; changes in behavior and spending patterns of purchasers of health care products and services; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; and trends toward health care cost containment. A further list and descriptions of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in the company’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. None of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies nor Johnson & Johnson undertakes to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.
 Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), European Medicines Agency. Juluca Summary of Opinion. EMA/CHMP/37238/2018. March 22, 2018.
 Llibre JM, Hung CC, Brinson C, et al. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of dolutegravir-rilpivirine for the maintenance of virological suppression in adults with HIV-1: phase 3, randomised, non-inferiority SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 studies. Lancet. 2018:391:839-849.
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