Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to evaluate zolbetuximab as treatment option for patients with advanced gastric and gastroesophageal cancers

TOKYO, June 9, 2023 – Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Naoki Okamura, “Astellas”) today announced the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) on June 9, 2023 to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) for zolbetuximab, a first-in-class investigational Claudin 18.2 (CLDN18.2)-targeted monoclonal antibody, for first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-negative gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma whose tumors are CLDN18.2-positive. If approved, zolbetuximab would be the first CLDN18.2-targeted therapy available in Japan for these patients.

“Gastric cancer remains the third deadliest cancer in Japan, leading to approximately 50,000 deaths per year despite significant strides to reduce the impact of this cancer,” said Pranob Bhattacharya, DrPH, MS, MBA, Executive Director and Interim Head of Immuno-Oncology Development, Astellas. “Astellas’ submission of a New Drug Application to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for zolbetuximab demonstrates critical momentum in addressing the unmet needs of patients with gastric cancer in Japan.”

The NDA is based on results from the Phase 3 SPOTLIGHT and GLOW clinical trials. The SPOTLIGHT study evaluated zolbetuximab plus mFOLFOX6 (a combination regimen that includes oxaliplatin, leucovorin and fluorouracil) compared to placebo plus mFOLFOX6. The GLOW study evaluated zolbetuximab plus CAPOX (a combination chemotherapy regimen that includes capecitabine and oxaliplatin) compared to placebo plus CAPOX.

In both SPOTLIGHT and GLOW, approximately 38% of patients screened for the trials had tumors that were CLDN18.2-positive (≥75% of tumor cells with moderate-to-strong membranous CLDN18 staining intensity), as determined by a validated immunohistochemistry assay.1,2


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