FDA Approves Idecabtagene Vicleucel for Multiple Myeloma

March 29, 2021

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On March 26, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved idecabtagene vicleucel (Abecma, Bristol Myers Squibb) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody. This is the first FDA-approved cell-based gene therapy for multiple myeloma. 

Idecabtagene vicleucel is a B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed genetically modified autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Each dose is customized using a patient’s own T-cells, which are collected and genetically modified, and infused back into the patient. 

Safety and efficacy were evaluated in a multicenter study of 127 patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who received at least three prior lines of antimyeloma therapies; 88% had received four or more prior lines of therapies. Efficacy was evaluated in 100 patients who received idecabtagene vicleucel in the dose range of 300 to 460 x 106 CAR-positive T cells. Efficacy was established based on overall response rate (ORR), complete response (CR) rate, and duration of response (DOR), as evaluated by an Independent Response committee using the International Myeloma Working Group Uniform Response Criteria for Multiple Myeloma. 

The ORR was 72% (95% CI: 62%, 81%) and CR rate was 28% (95% CI 19%, 38%). An estimated 65% of patients who achieved CR remained in CR for at least 12 months. 

The idecabtagene vicleucel label carries a boxed warning for cytokine release syndrome (CRS), neurologic toxicities, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/ macrophage activation syndrome, and prolonged cytopenias. The most common side effects of idecabtagene vicleucel include CRS, infections, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and hypogammaglobulinemia.

Idecabtagene vicleucel is approved with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy requiring that healthcare facilities that dispense the therapy must be specially certified to recognize and manage CRS and nervous system toxicities. To evaluate long-term safety, the FDA is requiring the manufacturer to conduct a post-marketing observational study involving patients treated with idecabtagene vicleucel.

The recommended dose range for idecabtagene vicleucel is 300 to 460 × 106 CAR-positive T cells. View full prescribing information for Abecma.

This application was granted breakthrough therapy designation and orphan drug designation. A description of FDA expedited programs is in the Guidance for Industry: Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions-Drugs and Biologics.

Healthcare professionals should report all serious adverse events suspected to be associated with the use of any medicine and device to FDA’s MedWatch Reporting System or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

For assistance with single-patient INDs for investigational oncology products, healthcare professionals may contact OCE’s Project Facilitate at 240-402-0004 or email OncProjectFacilitate@fda.hhs.gov.

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Please visit the FDA Hematology/Oncology (Cancer) Approvals & Safety Notifications webpage for a list of current and past approvals.