Updated on 18 February 2013
Hope for liver transplant patients - US FDA approves Novartis Zortress (everolimus) for the prophylaxis of organ rejection
Singapore: The US FDA has approved Novartis' Zortress (everolimus) for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in adult patients receiving a liver transplant. Zortress is the first mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor that has been approved for use following liver transplantation. It is also the first immunosuppressant approved by the FDA in over a decade for use following liver transplantation.
Mr David Epstein, division head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said that, "Novartis has been a leading innovator in the transplant field for 30 years, and this FDA approval for liver transplantation marks an important milestone for patients and their transplant physicians in the US. This second indication for Zortress in just three years in the US follows the recent European approval, further underscoring Novartis' continued commitment to bringing much needed treatment options to the transplant community worldwide."
The approval was based on liver transplant study, which showed that Zortress plus tacrolimus led to comparable efficacy and 10mL/min higher renal function as measured by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) for Zortress compared to standard tacrolimus at 12 months.
A large independent registry study of nearly 70,000 patients, who received a non-renal solid organ transplant between 1990 and 2000 showed that the incidence of chronic renal failure was greater in liver transplant recipients than in recipients of all other solid organ transplants, except intestinal transplants. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs), such as tacrolimus, are part of the standard-of-care treatment regimen for immunosuppression in liver transplantation, but they can contribute to adverse reactions, including impaired renal function. Zortress works by binding to a protein called mTOR, and acts synergistically with CNIs, offering an opportunity to lower CNI exposure.
The US approval was based on 12-month results from a phase III, multicenter, open-label, randomized, controlled study conducted in 719 liver transplant patients starting 30 days post-transplant. In the study, during the first 30 days after transplant and prior to randomization, patients received tacrolimus and corticosteroids, with or without mycophenolate mofetil. No induction antibody was administered.