FDA Approves Epcoritamab for r/r B-Cell Lymphoma

The US Food and Drug Administration approved epcoritamab (DuoBody, AbbVie and GenMab) today for adults with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma following at least two lines of systemic therapy. This includes patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma arising from indolent lymphoma and high-grade B-cell lymphoma.

Epcoritamab is the first subcutaneous bispecific antibody approved for the indication. The biologic simultaneously binds CD3 on cytotoxic T cells to CD20 on lymphomic B cells, inducing T-cell mediated destruction.

“Together with our partner, AbbVie, we recognize the unmet need for safe, effective, and accessible treatments for patients with B-cell malignancies and we believe that epcoritamab has the potential to become a core therapy in this patient population,” Jan van de Winkel, PhD, CEO of Genmab, said in a press release announcing FDA’s acceptance of its biologic licensing application in November 2022.

A potential competitor, Roche’s bispecific antibody mosunetuzumab (Lunsumio), was approved in December 2022. Mosunetuzumab has the same mechanism of action as epcoritamab but is indicated for relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma after at least two lines of systemic therapy. A phase 3 trial is currently underway exploring epcoritamab for relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma as part of combination therapy.

The current approval was based on the open-label phase 2 EPCORE NHL-1 trial conducted by AbbVie and Genmab. The trial’s efficacy population included 148 adults with relapsed or refractory CD20+ large B-cell lymphoma who had received at least two prior lines of therapy, including anti-CD20 therapies. Almost 40% had undergone CAR-T cell therapy.

Epcoritamab was administered initially once weekly, then every 2 weekly, and then every 4 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The trial had no comparator arm.

At a median follow-up of 10.7 months, the overall response rate was 61% and the complete response rate was 38%. At a median follow-up of 9.8 months among responders, the median duration of response was 15.6 months.

The prescribing information comes with a boxed warning for serious or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome and life-threatening or fatal immune-effector-cell–associated neurotoxicity syndrome. Warnings and precautions include infections and cytopenias.

Among the 157 patients who received epcoritamab in the trial at the recommended dose, grade 1-3 cytokine release syndrome occurred in 51%, immune-effector-cell–associated neurotoxicity syndrome occurred in 6% (with one fatal case), and 15% experienced serious infections.

The most common Grade 3 or 4 events included neutropenia (14.6%), anemia (10.2%), and thrombocytopenia (5.7%).

The FDA recommends epcoritamab be administered subcutaneously in 28-day cycles until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

The FDA also noted that “this indication is approved under accelerated approval based on response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.”

M. Alexander Otto is a physician assistant with a master’s degree in medical science and a journalism degree from Newhouse. He is an award-winning medical journalist who worked for several major news outlets before joining Medscape. Alex is also an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow. Email: [email protected]

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