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News Release

Apellis and Sobi Receive Positive CHMP Opinion for Aspaveli® (pegcetacoplan) for the Treatment of PNH

October 15, 2021

WALTHAM, Mass. and STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS) and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (Sobi™) (STO:SOBI) announced today that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency has adopted a positive opinion recommending the marketing authorization of Aspaveli® (pegcetacoplan) for the treatment of adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) who are anemic after treatment with a C5 inhibitor for at least three months. The positive opinion from the CHMP is now referred to the European Commission for an approval decision.  

PNH is a rare, chronic, life-threatening blood disorder where uncontrolled complement activation leads to the destruction of oxygen-carrying red blood cells through intravascular and extravascular hemolysis. Characterized by persistently low hemoglobin, PNH can result in frequent transfusions and debilitating symptoms such as severe fatigue. Despite improvements in hemolytic activity with C5 inhibitor treatment, approximately 72% of C5 treated patients remain anemic, according to a retrospective and a cross-sectional study.1,2

“Building on our recent U.S. approval, the positive CHMP opinion moves us one step closer toward bringing this important treatment to patients across Europe,” said Federico Grossi, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer, Apellis. “If approved, Aspaveli has the potential to redefine treatment for patients with PNH, so we look forward to the European Commission’s final decision.”

The positive opinion is based on the results from the head-to-head Phase 3 PEGASUS study, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of Aspaveli compared to eculizumab at 16 weeks in adults with PNH who had persistent anemia despite treatment with eculizumab. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2021.3

“Today’s positive opinion by the CHMP is a significant milestone for people living with PNH across Europe,” said Ravi Rao, head of research and development and chief medical officer, Sobi. "We hope to make a difference to the lives of people living with rare diseases, and if Aspaveli is approved by the European Commission, it will offer patients and treating physicians a new class of complement medicines for the treatment of PNH.”

Aspaveli is the European trade name for pegcetacoplan, which is known as EMPAVELI™ in the United States where it is approved for the treatment of adults with PNH.

About the PEGASUS Study
PEGASUS (APL2-302; NCT03500549) was a multi-center, randomized, head-to-head Phase 3 study in 80 adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). The primary objective of this study was to establish the efficacy and safety of Aspaveli®/EMPAVELI™ (pegcetacoplan) compared to eculizumab.

About Aspaveli®/EMPAVELI™ (pegcetacoplan)
Aspaveli®/EMPAVELI™ (pegcetacoplan) is a targeted C3 therapy designed to regulate excessive activation of the complement cascade, part of the body’s immune system, which can lead to the onset and progression of many serious diseases. EMPAVELI is approved in the United States for the treatment of adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency has adopted a positive opinion for Aspaveli for the treatment of adults with PNH who are anemic after treatment with a C5 inhibitor for at least three months. The positive opinion from the CHMP is now referred to the European Commission for an approval decision. The therapy is also under investigation for several other rare diseases across hematology, nephrology, and neurology.

U.S. Important Safety Information for EMPAVELI

BOXED WARNING: SERIOUS INFECTIONS CAUSED BY ENCAPSULATED BACTERIA

  • Meningococcal infections may occur in patients treated with EMPAVELI and may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Use of EMPAVELI may predispose individuals to serious infections, especially those caused by encapsulated bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniaeNeisseria meningitidis types A, C, W, Y, and B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B.
  • Comply with the most current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for vaccinations against encapsulated bacteria.
  • Vaccinate patients at least 2 weeks prior to administering the first dose of EMPAVELI unless the risks of delaying therapy with EMPAVELI outweigh the risk of developing a serious infection.
  • Vaccination reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of serious infections. Monitor patients for early signs of serious infections and evaluate immediately if infection is suspected.
  • EMPAVELI is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the EMPAVELI REMS, prescribers must enroll in the program.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hypersensitivity to pegcetacoplan or to any of the excipients
  • Not currently vaccinated against certain encapsulated bacteria, unless the risks of delaying EMPAVELI treatment outweigh the risks of developing a bacterial infection with an encapsulated organism
  • Unresolved serious infection caused by encapsulated bacteria including Streptococcus pneumoniaeNeisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Serious Infections Caused by Encapsulated Bacteria
The use of EMPAVELI may predispose individuals to serious, life-threatening, or fatal infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumoniaeNeisseria meningitidis types A, C, W, Y, and B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). To reduce the risk of infection, all patients must be vaccinated against these bacteria according to the most current ACIP recommendations for patients with altered immunocompetence associated with complement deficiencies. Revaccinate patients in accordance with ACIP recommendations considering the duration of therapy with EMPAVELI.

For patients without known history of vaccination, administer required vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to receiving the first dose of EMPAVELI. If immediate therapy with EMPAVELI is indicated, administer required vaccine as soon as possible and provide patients with 2 weeks of antibacterial drug prophylaxis.

Closely monitor patients for early signs and symptoms of serious infection and evaluate patients immediately if an infection is suspected. Promptly treat known infections. Serious infection may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Consider discontinuation of EMPAVELI in patients who are undergoing treatment for serious infections.

EMPAVELI REMS
Because of the risk of serious infections, EMPAVELI is available only through a restricted program under a REMS. Under the EMPAVELI REMS, prescribers must enroll in the program and must counsel patients about the risk of serious infection, provide the patients with the REMS educational materials, and ensure patients are vaccinated against encapsulated bacteria. Enrollment and additional information are available by telephone: 1-888-343-7073 or at www.empavelirems.com.

Infusion-Related Reactions
Systemic hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., facial swelling, rash, urticaria) have occurred in patients treated with EMPAVELI. One patient (less than 1% in clinical studies) experienced a serious allergic reaction which resolved after treatment with antihistamines. If a severe hypersensitivity reaction (including anaphylaxis) occurs, discontinue EMPAVELI infusion immediately, institute appropriate treatment, per standard of care, and monitor until signs and symptoms are resolved.

Monitoring PNH Manifestations after Discontinuation of EMPAVELI
After discontinuing treatment with EMPAVELI, closely monitor for signs and symptoms of hemolysis, identified by elevated LDH levels along with sudden decrease in PNH clone size or hemoglobin, or reappearance of symptoms such as fatigue, hemoglobinuria, abdominal pain, dyspnea, major adverse vascular events (including thrombosis), dysphagia, or erectile dysfunction. Monitor any patient who discontinues EMPAVELI for at least 8 weeks to detect hemolysis and other reactions. If hemolysis, including elevated LDH, occurs after discontinuation of EMPAVELI, consider restarting treatment with EMPAVELI.

Interference with Laboratory Tests
There may be interference between silica reagents in coagulation panels and EMPAVELI that results in artificially prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT); therefore, avoid the use of silica reagents in coagulation panels.

ADVERSE REACTIONS
The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥10% of patients) with EMPAVELI vs. eculizumab were injection-site reactions (39% v. 5%), infections (29% v. 26%), diarrhea (22% v. 3%), abdominal pain (20% v. 10%), respiratory tract infection (15% v. 13%), viral infection (12% v. 8%), and fatigue (12% v. 23%).

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Females of Reproductive Potential
EMPAVELI may cause embryo-fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Pregnancy testing is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to treatment with EMPAVELI. Advise female patients of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with EMPAVELI and for 40 days after the last dose.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding serious infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, and Medication Guide.

About Apellis
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company that is committed to leveraging courageous science, creativity, and compassion to deliver life-changing therapies. Leaders in targeted C3 therapies, we aim to develop transformative therapies for a broad range of debilitating diseases that are driven by excessive activation of the complement cascade, including those within haematology, ophthalmology, nephrology, and neurology. For more information, please visit http://apellis.com.

About Sobi™
Sobi is a specialised international biopharmaceutical company transforming the lives of people with rare diseases. Sobi is providing sustainable access to innovative therapies in the areas of haematology, immunology and specialty indications. Today, Sobi employs approximately 1,500 people across Europe, North America, Middle East and Asia. In 2020, Sobi’s revenues amounted to SEK 15.3 billion. Sobi’s share (STO:SOBI) is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. You can find more information about Sobi at sobi.com.

Apellis Forward-Looking Statement 
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the implications of clinical data. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including whether pegcetacoplan will receive approval from the EMA for PNH when expected or at all and other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of Apellis’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 9, 2021 and the risks described in other filings that Apellis may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Apellis specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contacts:

Apellis
Media:
Lissa Pavluk 
media@apellis.com 
617.977.6764

Investors: 
Meredith Kaya
meredith.kaya@apellis.com
617.599.8178

Sobi
Thomas Kudsk Larsen
Head of Communication and Investor Relations

Maria Kruse
Director of Communication and Investor Relations

For details on how to contact the Sobi Investor Relations Team, please click here. For Sobi Media contacts, click here.

  1. McKinley C. Extravascular Hemolysis Due to C3-Loading in Patients with PNH Treated with Eculizumab: Defining the Clinical Syndrome. Blood. 2017;130:3471.
  2. Dingli ASH 2020 Abstract/ p.1/ Methods/ ln.1-2; p.2/ Results/ln.7-9; ln.14-15.\
  3. Hillmen P, Szer J, Weitz I, et al. Pegcetacoplan versus Eculizumab in Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria. N Engl J Med. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2029073.