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Third phase III study with OTEZLA to demonstrate statistically significant improvements versus placebo for the primary and key secondary endpoints at week 16

SUMMIT, N.J. - Saturday, March 21st 2015 [ME NewsWire]

More patients achieved a PASI-75 response at week 32 than at week 16 for those randomized to OTEZLA at baseline and those switched from etanercept to OTEZLA at week 16

In a post-hoc analysis of PASI-75 at week 16, there was no statistically significant difference between OTEZLA and etanercept

No new safety signals identified through week 32 for OTEZLA

(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) today announced that results from its ongoing phase III LIBERATE trial evaluating Otezla® (apremilast), the Company’s oral, selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis were presented at a late-breaker presentation at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in San Francisco, California.

The LIBERATE study evaluated the clinical efficacy and safety of either oral OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily or weekly subcutaneous (SC) etanercept 50 mg compared with placebo at week 16 in 250 patients who had no prior exposure to a biological therapy. It also examined the relative safety of a switch from etanercept to OTEZLA after week 16.

At week 16, patients receiving OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement when compared with placebo, as measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI)-75 response [primary endpoint; 40 percent with OTEZLA (n=33/83), 12 percent with placebo (n=10/84), P<0.0001]. At week 16, statistical significance was also achieved for patients receiving weekly injections of etanercept 50 mg when compared with placebo [48 percent with etanercept (n=40/83), 12 percent with placebo (n=10/84), P<0.0001].

A post-hoc analysis revealed no significant difference between OTEZLA and etanercept (P=0.2565) in PASI-75 at week 16. LIBERATE was not designed or powered to directly compare OTEZLA to etanercept.

Treatment with OTEZLA also resulted in statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement versus placebo at week 16 in secondary endpoints, including static physician global assessment (sPGA) of clear or almost clear and Dermatology Quality of Life Index (DLQI) score change.

Among patients randomized to OTEZLA at baseline, more patients achieved a PASI-75 response at week 32 than at week 16 [53 percent (n=44/83) vs. 40 percent (n=33/83), respectively]. Among patients who switched from etanercept to OTEZLA at week 16, more patients achieved a PASI-75 response at week 32 than at week 16 [61 percent (n=51/83) vs. 48 percent (n=40/83), respectively].

The safety and tolerability data for OTEZLA observed in the LIBERATE study were consistent with previously reported data from six other phase III studies of OTEZLA in psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis; no new safety signals were observed. Adverse events reported in at least five percent of patients taking OTEZLA in the LIBERATE study were diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and headache (including tension headache). No new safety or tolerability issues were observed between weeks 16 and 32 in patients who switched from etanercept to OTEZLA at week 16.

“Nearly half of psoriasis patients are not satisfied with their current treatment,” said Kristian Reich, M.D., SCIderm Research Institute and Dermatologikum Hamburg, Germany. “The positive results from a third OTEZLA phase III psoriasis trial demonstrating efficacy and consistent safety of OTEZLA through 32 weeks further supports the potential for this therapy to have an impact on the needs of patients suffering from this chronic and debilitating disease.”

The LIBERATE study is ongoing.


LIBERATE (PSOR-010; EvaLuatIon from a PlaceBo-controllEd Study of ORal ApremilasT and Etanercept in Plaque Psoriasis) is a phase IIIb, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, double-dummy study of the efficacy and safety of OTEZLA, etanercept and placebo, in subjects with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The primary objective of the LIBERATE study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of oral OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily compared with placebo at week 16. Secondary objectives of the study included: the evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of etanercept 50 mg SC once weekly (QW) compared with placebo at week 16 and the evaluation of the relative safety of a crossover from etanercept to OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily, as compared with OTEZLA dosed since week 0, after week 16. Subjects were required to have inadequate response, intolerance or contraindication to at least one conventional systemic agent and no prior exposure to biologics. The study enrolled 250 subjects who were randomized 1:1:1 to receive OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily, etanercept 50 mg QW or placebo, for 16 weeks. Following the first 16 weeks, all subjects were switched to (or continued on) OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily through week 104. The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects with either OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily or placebo who achieved PASI-75 at week 16. Secondary endpoints included other measures of disease activity and quality of life for the comparison of OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily versus placebo and the comparison of etanercept 50 mg SC QW versus placebo.


OTEZLA is an oral small-molecule inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) specific for cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). PDE4 inhibition results in increased intracellular cAMP levels which is thought to indirectly modulate the production of inflammatory mediators. The specific mechanism(s) by which OTEZLA exerts its therapeutic action in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is not well defined.

OTEZLA was approved on March 21, 2014 by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of adults with active psoriatic arthritis and on September 23, 2014 for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy. OTEZLA was also approved on January 16, 2015 by the European Commission (EC) in two therapeutic indications:

    For the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis in adult patients who failed to respond to or who have a contraindication to, or are intolerant to other systemic therapy including cyclosporine, methotrexate or psoralen and ultraviolet-A light (PUVA)
    Alone or in combination with Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in adult patients who have had an inadequate response or who have been intolerant to a prior DMARD therapy

Important Safety Information (based on US labeling)


Otezla® (apremilast) is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to apremilast or to any of the excipients in the formulation.

Warnings and Precautions

Depression: Treatment with OTEZLA is associated with an increase in adverse reactions of depression. During clinical trials, 1.3% (12/920) of patients treated with OTEZLA reported depression compared to 0.4% (2/506) on placebo; 0.1% (1/1308) of OTEZLA patients discontinued treatment due to depression compared with none on placebo (0/506). Depression was reported as serious in 0.1% (1/1308) of patients exposed to OTEZLA, compared to none in placebo-treated patients (0/506). Suicidal behavior was observed in 0.1% (1/1308) of patients on OTEZLA, compared to 0.2% (1/506) on placebo. One patient treated with OTEZLA attempted suicide; one patient on placebo committed suicide.

Carefully weigh the risks and benefits of treatment with OTEZLA for patients with a history of depression and/or suicidal thoughts/behavior, or in patients who develop such symptoms while on OTEZLA. Patients, caregivers, and families should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or other mood changes, and they should contact their healthcare provider if such changes occur.

Weight Decrease: Body weight loss of 5-10% occurred in 12% (96/784) of patients treated with OTEZLA and in 5% (19/382) of patients treated with placebo. Body weight loss of ≥10% occurred in 2% (16/784) of patients treated with OTEZLA compared to 1% (3/382) of patients treated with placebo. Monitor body weight regularly; evaluate unexplained or clinically significant weight loss, and consider discontinuation of OTEZLA.

Drug Interactions: Apremilast exposure was decreased when OTEZLA was co-administered with rifampin, a strong CYP450 enzyme inducer; loss of OTEZLA efficacy may occur. Concomitant use of OTEZLA with CYP450 enzyme inducers (eg, rifampin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, phenytoin) is not recommended.

Adverse Reactions

Adverse reactions reported in ≥5% of patients were (OTEZLA%, placebo%): diarrhea (17, 6), nausea (17, 7), upper respiratory tract infection (9, 6), tension headache (8, 4), and headache (6, 4).

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy and Nursing Mothers: OTEZLA is Pregnancy Category C; it has not been studied in pregnant women. Use during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. It is not known whether apremilast or its metabolites are present in human milk. Caution should be exercised when OTEZLA is administered to a nursing woman.

Renal Impairment: OTEZLA dosage should be reduced in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL/min); for details, see Dosage and Administration, Section 2, in the Full Prescribing Information.

Please click here for Full Prescribing Information.

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated, non-contagious chronic inflammatory skin disorder of unknown cause. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition which varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. About 80 percent of people who develop psoriasis have plaque psoriasis, which appears as patches of raised, reddish skin covered by silvery-white scales. These patches, or plaques, frequently form on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp. Psoriasis occurs nearly equally in males and females. An estimated 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis. To learn more about the role of PDE4 in inflammatory diseases, go to www.discoverpde4.com.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global pharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit www.celgene.com. Follow Celgene on Twitter @Celgene, and on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

OTEZLA® is a registered trademark and LIBERATE™ is a trademark of Celgene Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are generally statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “plans,” “will,” “outlook” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current plans, estimates, assumptions and projections, and speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in light of new information or future events, except as otherwise required by law. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond our control. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of the impact of a number of factors, many of which are discussed in more detail in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.




Patrick E. Flanigan III, 908-673-9969

Vice President, Investor Relations




Catherine Cantone, 732-564-3592

Director, Corporate Communications     




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