AVEO Oncology (Nasdaq: AVEO), a commercial stage, oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track Designation (FTD) to ficlatuzumab for the treatment of patients with relapsed or recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/R HNSCC). Ficlatuzumab is AVEO’s investigational potent humanized immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody that targets hepatocyte growth factor.
“The FDA’s decision to grant FTD underscores the potential for ficlatuzumab to address a serious unmet need and serve as a meaningful therapeutic option for patients with metastatic HNSCC,” said Michael Bailey, president and chief executive officer of AVEO. “We are committed to unlocking the full potential of ficlatuzumab in patients with HNSCC and look forward to working closely with the FDA to determine next steps for the program.”
In June 2021, the Company announced positive results from a randomized confirmatory Phase 2 study of ficlatuzumab, AVEO’s hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) targeted antibody, alone or in combination with cetuximab, an EGFR-targeted antibody, in patients with metastatic HNSCC who relapsed or were refractory to prior immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and cetuximab (pan-refractory). Of note, patients with HPV negative disease, a subgroup normally associated with poorer outcomes, who received the ficlatuzumab and cetuximab combination demonstrated both a superior overall response rate and median progression free survival. A copy of the presentation is available at www.aveooncology.com.
As previously disclosed, a shortage of required key raw materials and manufacturing supplies also used in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing has delayed the delivery of the clinical supply of ficlatuzumab. The Company anticipates the potential start date for a registrational study in HPV negative HNSCC will be in 2023. The Company expects to continue to discuss potential ficlatuzumab pivotal study designs with the FDA and to continue ongoing partnership dialogues.
About Fast Track Designation
Fast Track Designation is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fulfill an unmet medical need, enabling drugs to reach patients earlier. Clinical programs with Fast Track designation may benefit from early and frequent communication with the FDA throughout the regulatory review process. These clinical programs may also be eligible to apply for Accelerated Approval and Priority Review if relevant criteria are met.
Ficlatuzumab (formerly known as AV-299) is an investigational potent hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) inhibitory antibody that binds to the HGF ligand with high affinity and specificity. HGF is the natural ligand of c-Met and blocking HGF inhibits signaling through the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway. Ficlatuzumab is currently being evaluated in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) and metastatic pancreatic ductal cancer (PDAC).
About AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
AVEO is a commercial-stage, oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company committed to delivering medicines that provide a better life for patients with cancer. AVEO currently markets FOTIVDA® (tivozanib) in the U.S. for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following two or more prior systemic therapies. AVEO continues to develop FOTIVDA in immuno-oncology combinations in RCC and other indications, and has several other investigational programs in clinical development. AVEO is committed to creating an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion to diversify representation within the Company.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements of AVEO within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “design,” “expect,” “hope,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “seek,” “look forward,” “advance,” “goal,” “strategy,” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about: the potential for ficlatuzumab as a treatment option for patients with relapsed or recurrent HNSCC; the potential efficacy, safety and tolerability of ficlatuzumab, both as a stand-alone drug candidate and in combination with other therapies in relapsed or recurrent HNSCC and other indications; the availability of clinical supplies of ficlatuzumab; the anticipated patient enrollment date for AVEO’s registrational study in HPV negative HNSCC; AVEO’s plans, strategies and execution for current and future clinical trials of tivozanib, ficlatuzumab and AV-380 and for commercialization of FOTIVDA in the United States; the potential outcomes from studies of its product candidates to provide AVEO with opportunities to pursue regulatory strategies; the potential clinical utility of ficlatuzumab in areas of unmet need; and AVEO’s strategy, prospects, plans and objectives for FOTIVDA, ficlatuzumab and its other product candidates and for AVEO generally. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements that AVEO makes due to a number of important factors, including risks relating to: AVEO’s ability, and the ability of its licensees, to demonstrate to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory agencies such as the FDA the safety, efficacy, and clinically meaningful benefit of ficlatuzumab, and risks relating to the timing and costs of seeking and obtaining regulatory approvals; AVEO’s dependence on third-party vendors for the development, manufacture, supply, storage and distribution of ficlatuzumab; AVEO’s ability to enter into and maintain its third party collaboration and license agreements, and its ability, and the ability of its strategic partners, to achieve development and commercialization objectives under these arrangements; AVEO’s ability to obtain sufficient clinical supplies of its product candidates; the potential adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on AVEO’s business continuity, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and ability to commercialize FOTIVDA, manufacture clinical and commercial product and timely initiate new trials or complete its ongoing clinical trials; competitive factors; and those risks discussed in the sections titled “Risk Factor Summary,” “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” included in AVEO’s quarterly and annual reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in other filings that AVEO makes with the SEC. The forward-looking statements in this press release represent AVEO’s views as of the date of this press release, and subsequent events and developments may cause its views to change. While AVEO may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. You should, therefore, not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing AVEO's views as of any date other than the date of this press release.
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David Pitts, Argot Partners