Fennec Pharmaceuticals Announces FDA Approval of PEDMARK® (Sodium Thiosulfate Injection)
~ PEDMARK® is the First and Only FDA-Approved Therapy Indicated to Reduce the Risk of Ototoxicity Associated with Cisplatin in Pediatric Patients with Localized, Non-Metastatic Solid Tumors ~
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Sept. 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: FENC; TSX: FRX), a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved PEDMARK® (sodium thiosulfate injection) to reduce the risk of ototoxicity associated with cisplatin in pediatric patients one month of age and older with localized, non-metastatic solid tumors. This approval makes PEDMARK the first and only treatment approved by the FDA in this area of significant unmet medical need.
“The FDA approval of PEDMARK represents an important breakthrough for pediatric patients with localized, non-metastatic solid tumors at risk for cisplatin-induced hearing loss. Cisplatin is a critical, standard of care agent, used in the treatment of pediatric cancers; however, even though effective, it could be harmful to children, frequently causing permanent and irreversible bilateral hearing loss. With PEDMARK, physicians now have an approved treatment option to reduce the risk of cisplatin-induced hearing loss in pediatric patients,” said Rosty Raykov, chief executive officer of Fennec Pharmaceuticals. “We would like to thank the patients, their families, physicians, investigators, employees, consultants and the entire research team at Oregon Health and Science University, who have contributed to the development of PEDMARK.”
The FDA approval of PEDMARK was based upon safety and efficacy data from two pivotal open-label, randomized Phase 3 trials (SIOPEL 6 and COG ACCL0431), which compared PEDMARK plus cisplatin-based regimen to cisplatin-based regimens alone for the reduction of cisplatin-induced hearing loss in pediatric patients. In both studies, the incidence of hearing loss was consistently and significantly lower in the PEDMARK plus cisplatin arm compared with the cisplatin alone arm [21.4% vs. 73.3% (p = 0.005) and 32.7% vs. 63% (p = 0.002) with hearing loss in COG ACCLO431 and SIOPEL6, respectively]. The most common adverse reactions (= 25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in SIOPEL6 are vomiting, infection, nausea, decreased hemoglobin, and hypernatremia. The most common adverse reaction (=25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in COG ACCL0431 is hypokalemia.
“Historically, there have been no approved treatments for preventing cisplatin-induced hearing loss. As a physician focused in pediatric cancer for many years, and a primary investigator in the pivotal PEDMARK Phase 3 Clinical Oncology Group (COG) trial, the FDA approval of PEDMARK addresses an enormous unmet need and for many children and young adults, has the potential to greatly improve everyday activities for these patients,” said David R. Freyer, DO, MS, Primary Investigator, COG ACCL0431, and Director of the Survivorship & Supportive Care Program, Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Advances in chemotherapy-based treatment approaches for pediatric patients with localized, solid tumors have improved, resulting in an 85 percent or higher five-year survival rate for these patients2. However, use of platinum-based chemotherapy, still the treatment of choice in many cases, can be toxic to the ears and cisplatin treatment frequently causes permanent and irreversible bilateral (affecting both ears) hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss can be seen in approximately 60 percent of children treated with cisplatin and can be as high as 90 percent.1,2 Until now, interventions with management strategies such as cochlear implants and hearing aids only occurred after hearing loss had been detected and these interventions do not return normal hearing.3
“Hearing loss can have a profound impact on a person’s life, especially in children who are critically dependent upon normal hearing for cognitive, psychosocial, and speech development,” said Penelope "Peppy" R. Brock, M.D., Ph.D., of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and International Chair of the SIOPEL 6 trial. “Incorporating PEDMARK® into current treatment strategies with the goal to preserve hearing in children and young adults without reducing the effectiveness of their cisplatin treatment – is a welcome step towards helping to improve long-term outcomes for these patients.”
For more information about product availability and patient support, please contact the Fennec HEARS™ program at 1-833-7PEDMARK (1-833-773-3627).
The FDA granted this application Priority Review designation. PEDMARK also received Orphan Drug designation by the FDA in 2004.
The Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for sodium thiosulfate (tradename PEDMARQSI) is currently under evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
About Cisplatin-Induced Ototoxicity
The incidence of ototoxicity depends upon the dose and duration of chemotherapy, and many of these children require lifelong hearing aids or cochlear implants, which can be helpful for some, but do not reverse the hearing loss and can be costly over time.5 Infants and young children that are affected by ototoxicity at critical stages of development lack speech and language development and literacy, and older children and adolescents often lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.6
About PEDMARK® (sodium thiosulfate injection)
In the U.S. and Europe, it is estimated that, annually, more than 10,000 children may receive platinum-based chemotherapy. The incidence of ototoxicity depends upon the dose and duration of chemotherapy, and many of these children require lifelong hearing aids. There is currently no established preventive agent for this hearing loss and only expensive, technically difficult, and sub-optimal cochlear (inner ear) implants have been shown to provide some benefit. Infants and young children that suffer ototoxicity at critical stages of development lack speech language development and literacy, and older children and adolescents lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.
Indications and Usage
Limitations of Use
Important Safety Information
Hypersensitivity reactions occurred in 8% to 13% of patients in clinical trials. Monitor patients for hypersensitivity reactions. Immediately discontinue PEDMARK and institute appropriate care if a hypersensitivity reaction occurs. Administer antihistamines or glucocorticoids (if appropriate) before each subsequent administration of PEDMARK. PEDMARK may contain sodium sulfite; patients with sulfite sensitivity may have hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or severe asthma episodes. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in people with asthma.
PEDMARK is not indicated for use in pediatric patients less than 1 month of age due to the increased risk of hypernatremia or in pediatric patients with metastatic cancers.
Hypernatremia occurred in 12% to 26% of patients in clinical trials, including a single Grade 3 case. Hypokalemia occurred in 15% to 27% of patients in clinical trials, with Grade 3 or 4 occurring in 9% to 27% of patients. Monitor serum sodium and potassium at baseline and as clinically indicated. Withhold PEDMARK in patients with baseline serum sodium greater than 145 mmol/L.
Monitor for signs and symptoms of hypernatremia and hypokalemia more closely if the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) falls below 60 mL/min/1.73m2.
Administer antiemetics prior to each PEDMARK administration. Provide additional antiemetics and supportive care as appropriate.
The most common adverse reactions (=25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in SIOPEL6 were vomiting, nausea, decreased hemoglobin, and hypernatremia. The most common adverse reaction (=25% with difference between arms of >5% compared to cisplatin alone) in COG ACCL0431 was hypokalemia.
Please see full Prescribing Information for PEDMARK® at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2022/212937s000lbl.pdf.
About Fennec Pharmaceuticals
Forward Looking Statements
PEDMARK® and Fennec® are registered trademarks of Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc.
©2022 Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc. All rights reserved. FEN-1296-v1 09/22
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1 Langer T, Zehnhoff-Dinnesen A, Radtke S, et al. Understanding Platinum-Induced Ototoxicity. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. August 2013, Vol. 34, No. 8:458-469.