Industry News: FDA approves Roche’s Evrysdi for treatment of spinal muscular atrophy

In two clinical trials, Evrysdi improved motor function in people living with SMA over a broad spectrum of ages and levels of disease severity, including Types 1, 2, and 3 SMA

12 Aug 2020


Roche has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Evrysdi™ (risdiplam) for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in adults and children 2 months of age and older. Evrysdi showed clinically-meaningful improvements in motor function across two clinical trials in people with varying ages and levels of disease severity, including Types 1, 2, and 3 SMA. Infants achieved the ability to sit without support for at least 5 seconds, a key motor milestone not normally seen in the natural course of the disease. Evrysdi also improved survival without permanent ventilation at 12 and 23 months, compared to natural history. A liquid medicine, Evrysdi is administered daily at home by mouth or feeding tube.

“Given the majority of people with SMA in the U.S. remain untreated, we believe Evrysdi, with its favorable clinical profile and oral administration, may offer meaningful benefits for many living with this rare neurological disease,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph. D., Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “The strength and resolve of the SMA community has continually inspired us as we developed this first-of-its-kind medicine for SMA, so today we celebrate our collective accomplishment together with them.”

Evrysdi is being studied in more than 450 people as part of a large and robust clinical trial program in SMA. The program includes infants aged 2 months to adults aged 60 with varying symptoms and motor function, such as people with scoliosis or joint contractures, and those previously treated for SMA with another medication. The approval is based on data from two clinical studies designed to represent a broad spectrum of people living with SMA: FIREFISH in symptomatic infants aged 2 to 7 months; and SUNFISH in children and adults aged 2 to 25 years. SUNFISH is the first and only placebo-controlled trial to include adults with Types 2 and 3 SMA.

In FIREFISH, 41% (7/17) of infants treated with the therapeutic dose achieved the ability to sit without support for at least 5 seconds as measured by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Third Edition (BSID-III). Additionally, 90% (19/21) of infants were alive without permanent ventilation at 12 months of treatment and reached 15 months of age or older. As described in the natural history of untreated infantile-onset SMA, infants would not be expected to be able to sit independently, and only 25 percent would be expected to survive without permanent ventilation beyond 14 months of age. In SUNFISH, children and adults treated with Evrysdi experienced a clinically-meaningful and statistically significant improvement in motor function at 12 months (1.55 point mean difference; p=0.0156) compared to placebo (1.36 points [95% CI: 0.61, 2.11]; -0.19 points [95% CI: -1.22, 0.84], respectively), as measured by a change from baseline in the Motor Function Measure-32 (MFM-32) total score.

Evrysdi demonstrated a favorable efficacy and safety profile, with the safety profile established across the FIREFISH and SUNFISH trials. The most common adverse reactions were fever, diarrhea, and rash in later-onset SMA. In infantile-onset SMA, the most common adverse events were similar and also included upper respiratory tract infection, pneumonia, constipation, and vomiting. There were no treatment-related safety findings leading to withdrawal from either study.

“Throughout their lives, many people with SMA may lose their ability to perform critical movements, which can impact the ability to independently participate in aspects of daily life and even be life altering,” said Kenneth Hobby, president of Cure SMA. “The approval of Evrysdi is an eagerly awaited milestone for our community. We appreciate Genentech/Roche’s commitment to reflecting the full scope of the real-world SMA population in their clinical trial program and developing a treatment that can be administered at home.”

Evrysdi is designed to treat SMA by increasing production of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMN protein is found throughout the body and is critical for maintaining healthy motor neurons and movement. Roche leads the clinical development of Evrysdi as part of a collaboration with the SMA Foundation and PTC Therapeutics.

Evrysdi will be available in the United States within two weeks for direct delivery to patients’ homes through Accredo Health Group Inc., an Express Scripts specialty pharmacy.

About Evrysdi™ (risdiplam)

Evrysdi is a survival of motor neuron 2 (SMN2) splicing modifier designed to treat SMA caused by mutations in chromosome 5q that lead to SMN protein deficiency. Evrysdi is administered daily at home in liquid form by mouth or by feeding tube.

Risdiplam was granted PRIME designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2018 and Orphan Drug Designation by FDA and EMA in 2017 and 2019, respectively. At this time, risdiplam has been filed in Brazil, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, South Korea, and Taiwan. A Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) submission to the EMA for Evrysdi is imminent.

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