TOKYO and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 16, 2023 – Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) and Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB, Corporate headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts, CEO: Christopher A. Viehbacher, “Biogen”) announced today that Health Canada has accepted a New Drug Submission (NDS) for lecanemab (brand name in the U.S.: LEQEMBI™), an investigational anti-amyloid beta (Aβ) protofibril* antibody, for the treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease (mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild AD dementia) with confirmed amyloid pathology in the brain.
The NDS is based on the results of the Phase III Clarity AD study and Phase IIb clinical study (Study 201), which demonstrated the lecanemab treatment showed a reduction of clinical decline in early AD. Lecanemab selectively binds and eliminates soluble, toxic Aβ aggregates (protofibrils) that are thought to contribute to the neurotoxicity in AD. As such, lecanemab may have the potential to have an effect on disease pathology and to slow down the progression of the disease. The Clarity AD study of lecanemab met its primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with highly statistically significant results. In November 2022, the results of the Clarity AD study were presented at the 2022 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference, and simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Lecanemab was approved under the accelerated approval pathway in the U.S. and was launched in the U.S. on January 18, 2023. The accelerated approval was based on Phase II data that demonstrated that lecanemab reduced the accumulation of Aβ plaque in the brain, a defining feature of AD, and its continued approval may be contingent upon verification of lecanemab’s clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that the results of Clarity AD can serve as the confirmatory study to verify the clinical benefit of lecanemab.
In the U.S., Eisai submitted a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to the FDA for approval under the traditional pathway on January 6, 2023. On March 3, 2023, the FDA accepted Eisai’s sBLA based on the Clarity AD clinical data, and the lecanemab application has been granted Priority Review, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date of July 6, 2023. The FDA is planning to hold an Advisory Committee to discuss this application on June 9, 2023. In Japan, Eisai submitted an application for manufacturing and marketing approval to the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) on January 16, 2023. Priority Review was granted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) on January 26, 2023. Eisai utilized the PMDA’s prior assessment consultation system, with the aim of shortening the review period for lecanemab. In Europe, Eisai submitted a marketing authorization application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 9, 2023, which was accepted on January 26, 2023. In China, Eisai initiated submission of data for a BLA to the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China in December 2022, and Priority Review was granted on February 27, 2023.
Eisai serves as the lead of lecanemab development and regulatory submissions globally with both Eisai and Biogen co-commercializing and co-promoting the product and Eisai having final decision-making authority.
* Protofibrils are large Aβ aggregated soluble species of 75-5000 Kd.1
1 Söderberg, L., Johannesson, M., Nygren, P. et al. Lecanemab, Aducanumab, and Gantenerumab – Binding Profiles to Different Forms of Amyloid-Beta Might Explain Efficacy and Side Effects in Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurotherapeutics (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-022-01308-6. Accessed February 9, 2023