AbbVie Resumes CANOVA Multiple Myeloma Trial After FDA Lifts Partial Hold

Multiple Myeloma PharmaWatch

AbbVie announced the U.S. FDA has lifted the partial clinical hold placed on CANOVA, a Phase 3 trial evaluating venetoclax (Venclexta or Venclyxto) for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. The CANOVA trial is evaluating venetoclax in combination with dexamethasone versus pomalidomide in combination with dexamethasone in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma positive for the translocation (11;14) abnormality. The t(11;14) genetic biomarker is a common and routinely tested for genetic abnormality in patients with multiple myeloma.

The FDA removed the partial clinical hold based upon agreement on revisions to the CANOVA study protocol, including new risk mitigation measures, protocol-specified guidelines and updated futility criteria. Enrollment in the CANOVA trial may resume as determined by each participant site based on the approved protocol.

All other clinical trials evaluating venetoclax in patients with multiple myeloma remain on partial clinical hold while next steps continue to be evaluated with the agency. The partial clinical hold does not impact any of the approved indications for venetoclax, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AbbVie remains confident in the benefit/risk profile of venetoclax in those approved indications.

In March 2019, AbbVie announced the FDA placed a partial clinical hold on all trials evaluating venetoclax for the investigational treatment of multiple myeloma. This decision was made following a review of data from the Phase 3 BELLINI trial of venetoclax with bortezomib and dexamethasone (Ven + Vd) versus placebo (placebo + Vd) in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. In the BELLINI trial a higher proportion of deaths (41/194 (21%)) was observed in the venetoclax arm compared to the control arm of the trial (11/97 (11%). Progressive disease was the most common cause (45%) of death. The rates of serious adverse events (AEs) (48% vs 50%) and serious infections (28% vs 27%) were comparable between arms.


About Venclexta/Venclyxto (venetoclax) 

Venclexta/Venclyxto (venetoclax) is a first-in-class medicine that selectively binds and inhibits the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein. In some blood cancers, BCL-2 prevents cancer cells from undergoing their natural death or self-destruction process, called apoptosis. Venclexta/Venclyxto targets the BCL-2 protein and works to help restore the process of apoptosis.

Venclexta/Venclyxto is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S. Together, the companies are committed to BCL-2 research and to studying venetoclax in clinical trials across several blood and other cancers. 

Venclexta/Venclyxto is approved in more than 50 countries, including the U.S. Venetoclax is not approved by any regulatory authority, in any country for the treatment of multiple myeloma.