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Novartis Tafinlar + Mekinist receives FDA approval for first tumor-agnostic indication for BRAF V600E solid tumors

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  • Tafinlar + Mekinist, the worldwide targeted therapy leader in BRAF/MEK-inhibition, is the first and only therapy to be approved with a tumor-agnostic indication for adult and pediatric patients with solid tumors that have a BRAF V600E mutation1,2 
  • Approval supported by results from Phase II ROAR and NCI-MATCH studies demonstrating overall response rates up to 80% in patients with BRAF V600E solid tumors1,2 
  • BRAF mutations drive tumor growth across more than 20 tumor types, including thyroid, brain and gynecologic cancers3,4

Basel, June 23, 2022 — Novartis today announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for Tafinlar® (dabrafenib) + Mekinist® (trametinib) for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients 6 years of age and older with unresectable or metastatic solid tumors with BRAF V600E mutation who have progressed following prior treatment and have no satisfactory alternative treatment options1,2. In accordance with the Accelerated Approval Program, continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial(s). Tafinlar + Mekinist is the first and only BRAF/MEK inhibitor to be approved with a tumor-agnostic indication for solid tumors carrying the BRAF V600E mutation, which drives tumor growth in more than 20 different tumor types, and it is the only BRAF/MEK inhibitor approved for use in pediatric patients1,2.

“The combination of dabrafenib and trametinib demonstrated meaningful efficacy in multiple BRAF-positive tumor types, including in some patients with rare cancers who have no other treatment options available,” said principal investigator Dr. Vivek Subbiah, M.D., associate professor of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics and center medical director of the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy, Division of Cancer Medicine, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “Physicians should consider a BRAF test as a routine diagnostic step that could enable a new option for treating patients with many solid tumors.”

The FDA approval was based on clinical efficacy and safety demonstrated in three clinical trials. In the Phase II ROAR (Rare Oncology Agnostic Research) basket study and the NCI-MATCH Subprotocol H study, Tafinlar + Mekinist resulted in overall response rates of up to 80% in patients with BRAF V600E solid tumors, including high- and low-grade glioma, biliary tract cancer and certain gynecological and gastrointestinal cancers. An additional study (Study X2101) demonstrated the clinical benefit and acceptable safety profile of Tafinlar + Mekinist in pediatric patients1,2.

“Tackling cancer is complex, which is why it is so important that we continue to follow the science as we pursue meaningful advances and new approaches to treating cancer,” said Reshema Kemps-Polanco, Head, Novartis Oncology US. “We are grateful to the patients, and to the multitude of individuals and teams working together to make this latest approval possible as we strive to do more for more people living with cancer.”

The safety profile of Tafinlar + Mekinist observed in these studies was consistent with the known safety profile in other approved indications.

BRAF mutations have been identified as drivers of cancer growth across a wide range of solid tumors, including in rare cancer types that can be challenging to study in Phase III trials and often have limited treatment options3,4. BRAF V600E is the most common type of BRAF mutation, accounting for up to 90% of BRAF-mutant cancers3.

Full prescribing information for Tafinlar + Mekinist can be found at https://www.novartis.us/sites/www.novartis.us/files/tafinlar.pdf and https://www.novartis.us/sites/www.novartis.us/files/mekinist.pdf.

About Tafinlar + Mekinist
The combination of Tafinlar + Mekinist, the worldwide targeted therapy leader in BRAF/MEK-inhibition research and patients reached, may help to slow tumor growth by blocking signals associated with the BRAF and MEK kinases that are implicated in the growth of various types of cancer1-5. Tafinlar + Mekinist has been studied in more than 6,000 BRAF-positive patients in more than 20 ongoing and completed trials, including in pediatric patients 1 year of age and older, and has been prescribed to more than 200,000 patients worldwide5.

Tafinlar + Mekinist is also approved for use in BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma, as an adjuvant treatment for BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma after surgery, in BRAF V600 mutation-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and in BRAF V600 mutation-positive anaplastic thyroid cancer1,2. Tafinlar + Mekinist is not indicated for treatment of patients with colorectal cancer or for treatment of patients with wild-type BRAF solid tumors.

Disclaimer
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “seek,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” “pipeline,” “launch,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this press release, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this press release will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political, economic and business conditions, including the effects of and efforts to mitigate pandemic diseases such as COVID-19; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 108,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at https://www.novartis.com.

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References

  1. Tafinlar [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2022.
  2. Mekinist [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2022.
  3. Turski ML, et al. Mol Cancer Ther. 2016;15:533-547
  4. Pratilas C, et al. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;355:82-98.
  5. Novartis data on file.

# # #

Novartis Media Relations
E-mail: media.relations@novartis.com

Anja von Treskow
Novartis External Communications
+41 79 392 8697 (mobile)
anja.von_treskow@novartis.com



Julie Masow
Novartis US External Communications
+1 862 579 8456
Julie.masow@novartis.com
Dan Connelly
Novartis Oncology Communications
+1 862 210 0217 (direct)
daniel.connelly@novartis.com

Novartis Investor Relations
Central investor relations line: +41 61 324 7944
E-mail: investor.relations@novartis.com

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