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Seebri® Inhalation Capsules Receive MHLW Approval as Once-daily Maintenance Treatment for COPD in Japan

TOKYO, September 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Marks first approval for glycopyrronium bromide in COPD, with approval also expected in the EU in 2012
  • Approval triggers $2.5m milestone payment to Sosei
  • Seebri®  Inhalation Capsules 50 mcg approved as maintenance COPD treatment will be available to patients and physicians in Japan by year-end
  • GLOW trials showed Seebri®  Inhalation Capsules improved lung function, reduced shortness of breath, reduced exacerbations, and improved quality of life up to 52 weeks versus placebo[1]-[4]
  • GLOW2 study showed Seebri® Inhalation Capsules provided 24-hour bronchodilation and is superior to placebo and similar to open-label tiotropium in improving lung function[2]

Sosei Group Corporation ("Sosei"; TSE Mothers Index: 4565) confirms the information released today by Novartis that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has approved Seebri® (glycopyrronium bromide) Inhalation Capsules 50 mcg administered through the Breezhaler® device, as a once-daily, long-term, inhaled maintenance bronchodilator treatment for the relief of various symptoms due to airway obstructive disease in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema). This marks the first approval for glycopyrronium, with approval also expected in the EU in 2012, and triggers a $2.5m milestone payment to Sosei.

The MHLW approved Seebri® Inhalation Capsules based on data from the Novartis Phase III GLOW trials which demonstrated the safety and efficacy of glycopyrronium 50 mcg and involved 2,159 COPD patients from Japan and around the world who required maintenance treatment[1]-[4].

The GLOW trials showed that glycopyrronium, when compared to placebo, significantly improved lung function over the first four hours after morning dosing and that this benefit was sustained for 24 hours over a 52-week period[2]. Patients on glycopyrronium demonstrated improved lung function, reduced shortness of breath, reduced exacerbations, reduced use of rescue medication, and improved quality of life compared to placebo[1]-[4].

GLOW1 was a 26-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study demonstrated the clinically significant superiority of glycopyrronium versus placebo for lung function improvements at 12 weeks (primary endpoint) measured by trough FEV1 (p<0.01)[1].

GLOW2 demonstrated a similar magnitude of effect and also showed that glycopyrronium was similar to open-label (OL) tiotropium over 52 weeks measured by improvements in trough FEV1 compared to placebo. In addition to demonstrating benefits in terms of lung function, glycopyrronium exhibited a rapid onset of action within five minutes at first dose and reduced exacerbations. Significant benefits in both breathlessness and health-related quality of life (HRQL), as measured by the Transition Dyspnea Index (TDI) and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) compared to placebo, were also demonstrated. GLOW2 was a 52-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with OL tiotropium 18 mcg as an active exploratory arm[2].

The GLOW3 study showed that after glycopyrronium was administered in the morning, patients experienced improved exercise tolerance from the first dose onward. Overall, patients treated with glycopyrronium experienced a significant 21% improvement in exercise endurance versus placebo at the end of the study (day 21), with a significant 10% increase from day one (both p<0.001)[3].

GLOW4 was a 52-week study in a Japanese population that examined the safety profile of glycopyrronium using OL tiotropium 18 mcg administered in the Handihaler® device as an active control. The data from this study showed that glycopyrronium had a similar safety profile to OL tiotropium[4]. In all studies, glycopyrronium was shown to have an overall safety profile similar to placebo[4].  

CEO of Sosei, Shinichi Tamura commented:

"We are delighted with the MHLW approval of Seebri Inhalation Capsules which marks an important milestone in the evolution of the Sosei business.

The latest Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines recommend long-acting muscarinic antagonists as first-line therapy for a broad range of COPD patients with moderate to very severe symptoms. Seebri Inhalation Capsules will provide an important once-daily treatment option for this serious disease."

Notes for editors

AboutSeebri® (glycopyrronium bromide)

Seebri® (glycopyrronium bromide) Inhalation Capsules is a long acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) developed as a once-daily inhaled maintenance therapy for the treatment of COPD. Glycopyrronium bromide was exclusively licensed to Novartis in April 2005 by Sosei and its co-development partner Vectura. Phase III data from the GLOW 1, 2, 3 and 4 studies demonstrate that glycopyrronium increased patients' lung function over a 24-hour period compared to placebo with a fast onset of action at first dose, and improved exercise endurance versus placebo[1]-[4]. In June 2012, the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion for the approval of Seebri® Breezhaler® in Europe, which applies to all 27 EU member states, plus Iceland and Norway. The US filing for glycopyrronium bromide is expected in 2014.    

About QVA149

QVA149 is an investigational inhaled, once-daily, fixed-dose combination of indacaterol maleate and glycopyrronium bromide delivered through the Breezhaler® device. QVA149 is being investigated for the maintenance treatment of COPD in the Phase III IGNITE clinical trial program. IGNITE is one of the largest international clinical trial programs in COPD comprising 10 studies in total with more than 7,000 patients across 42 countries[5]-[17]. The first five studies (ILLUMINATE, SHINE, BRIGHT, ENLIGHTEN, SPARK) have already completed in 2012 with three additional studies (BLAZE, ARISE, BEACON) expected to complete by the end of the year. The studies are designed to investigate efficacy, safety and tolerability, lung function, exercise endurance, exacerbations, breathlessness and quality of life. Initial filings for regulatory approval are expected in Q4 2012 for Europe and Japan. US filing is expected at the end of 2014.

All Novartis inhaled COPD portfolio products are being developed for delivery via the Breezhaler® device, a single-dose dry powder inhaler (SDDPI), which has low air flow resistance, making it suitable for patients with airflow limitation, such as COPD patients. The Breezhaler® device allows patients to hear, feel and see that they have taken the drug correctly[5].

About COPD

COPD is a progressive disease associated mainly with tobacco smoking, air pollution or occupational exposure, which can cause obstruction of airflow in the lungs resulting in debilitating bouts of breathlessness. It affects an estimated 210 million people worldwide[18] and is predicted to be the third leading cause of death by 2020[19]. Although COPD is often thought of as a disease of the elderly, 50% of patients are estimated to be within the ages of 50 and 65, which means that half of the COPD population are likely to be impacted at the peak of their earning power and family responsibilities[20].


  1. D'Urzo A, et al. Efficacy and safety of once-daily NVA237 in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD: the GLOW1 trial. Respiratory Research 2011, 12:156.
  2. Kerwin E, et al. Efficacy and safety of NVA237 versus placebo and tiotropium in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD over 52 weeks: The GLOW2 study. Eur Resp J. 2012. Published on July 26, 2012 (doi:10.1183/09031936.00040712). Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  3. Beeh K, Drollmann A, Di Scala L, Smith R. Once-daily NVA237 improves exercise endurance from first dose in patients with COPD: the GLOW3 trial. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2012; 7:503-513.
  4. Sekiya M et al. Safety and efficacy of NVA237 once daily in Japanese patients: the GLOW4 trial. [ERS abstract 853970; Session 245; Hall A-7; Date: Mon 3 Sep Time: 12:50-14:40.]
  5. Onbrez® Inhalation Capsules. Japanese SmPC
  6. A Study to Assess the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Once-daily QVA149 in Patients With Moderate to Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (SHINE). NCT01202188. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  7. QVA149 versus Fluticasone/Salmeterol in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (ILLUMINATE). NCT01315249 Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  8. A Study to Assess the Long-term Safety of QVA149 (ENLIGHTEN). NCT01120717 Last accessed 12 September 2012
  9. Effect of QVA149 on Exercise Tolerance in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (BRIGHT). NCT01294787. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  10. Effect of QVA149 Versus NVA237 and Tiotropium on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) Exacerbations (SPARK). NCT01120691. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  11. Long Term Safety and Tolerability of QVA149 Versus Tiotropium in Japanese Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (ARISE). NCT01285492. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  12. The Effect of QVA149 on Dyspnea in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (BLAZE). NCT01490125. Last accessed 12 September 2012
  13. Comparison of Safety and Efficacy of the Combination Product QVA149A Against the Concurrent Administration of the Individual Components, QAB149 and NVA237, in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (BEACON). Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  14. Comparison of Long-term Safety of the Combination Product QVA149A Against Placebo and Standard of Care Treatment in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients With Moderate to Severe Airflow Limitation (GLISTEN). Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  15. The Effect of QVA149 on Health Related Quality of Life in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (QUANTIFY). Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  16. FDA Access Data. Spiriva Medical Review Part 2, pages 37-38. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  17. FDA Access Data. Advair Medical Review Nov. 17, 2003, Page 133. Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  18. Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD). Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases: a comprehensive approach. Available at: Last accessed 12 September 2012.
  19. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Updated 2011.
  20. Fletcher MJ et al., COPD Uncovered: An International survey on the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on a working age population. BMC Public Health 2011;11:612.

SOURCE Sosei Group Corporation

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