myTomorrows, a company that provides patients and physicians with early access to drugs in development, has entered into an agreement with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals to promote Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan) in Europe.
Under the collaboration, myTomorrows will continue to provide Zevalin for patients with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and will completely manage the drug’s promotion throughout all European countries.
“We are very pleased to be promoting Zevalin as this reinforces our commitment to serving patients facing urgent medical needs, ” Ronald Brus, CEO of myTomorrows, said in a press release. “Within hematologic diseases there remain many patients with urgent medical needs that require complex treatment strategies, we remain fully committed to providing healthcare professionals with effective treatment options.”
Follicular lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that develops when the body makes abnormal B-lymphocytes (white blood cells). There is still no cure for this cancer, and while currently available treatments extend a patient’s life with a period of remission, the disease relapses in most cases.
Follicular lymphomas are radiosensitive. Radioimmunotherapy (RIT), which involves the combination of a monoclonal antibody with a radioisotope, is currently the standard and stand alone treatment for the early-stage treatment of NHL.
Zevalin combines the cell-targeting ability of a monoclonal antibody against CD20 with the additional cell-killing ability of a radioactive particle, or radioisotope, called yttrium-90. The Zevalin regimen is delivered on an outpatient basis over the course of a week. The treatment is normally well tolerated by patients, without the usual side effects of chemotherapy treatments. The most common side effect is a temporary reduction in blood cell counts.
In 2002, Zevalin became the only radioimmunotherapy treatment to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory lowgrade, follicular, or transformed B-cell NHL — including patients with follicular NHL who no longer respond to treatment with Rituxan (rituximab).
In 2009, the FDA expanded the approval to include patients with previously untreated follicular NHL, who achieve a partial or complete response to first-line chemotherapy. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved Zevalin in 2004 for the same indications.