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Aurinia Announces Positive CHMP Opinion for LUPKYNIS® (voclosporin) for the Treatment of Adults with Active Lupus Nephritis in Europe

Positive CHMP opinion is based on a comprehensive submission including data from the pivotal AURORA 1 efficacy study and the AURORA 2 continuation study, demonstrating voclosporin to be safe and well tolerated for up to three years of treatment.

Based on the CHMP recommendation, a decision by the European Commission is expected in approximately two months.

LUPKYNIS® was approved by the FDA in 2021 for the treatment of adults with active lupus nephritis and is the first oral therapy available for the treatment of the disease, in the U.S.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:AUPH) (Aurinia or the Company), a biopharmaceutical company committed to delivering therapeutics that change the course of autoimmune disease, today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) adopted a positive opinion recommending voclosporin (brand name, LUPKYNIS) for marketing authorization to treat adults with active lupus nephritis (LN), a serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved LUPKYNIS (voclosporin) on January 22, 2021, in combination with a background immunosuppressive therapy regimen to treat adult patients with active LN.

In December 2020, Aurinia entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., (Otsuka) for the development and commercialization of voclosporin for the treatment of LN in the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, Switzerland, Norway, Belarus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Ukraine. In June 2021, Otsuka’s European subsidiary, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. (OPEL), an affiliate of Otsuka, filed an initial Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for voclosporin for the treatment of LN to the EMA. In February 2022, Swiss Medic granted Otsuka orphan drug status for voclosporin in LN.

Based on the CHMP recommendation, a decision by the European Commission is expected in approximately two months. If granted by the European Commission, the centralized marketing authorization would be valid in all EU member states as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

“This positive recommendation brings us one step closer to delivering voclosporin to LN patients across Europe and with a strong history of commercialization in rare kidney disease, Otsuka is an ideal partner to bring voclosporin to patients to this market,” said Peter Greenleaf, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aurinia.

“I am proud of the outstanding efforts of our Aurinia submission team to prepare the MAA filing to secure this positive opinion and the strong collaboration between Aurinia and Otsuka to advance efforts to reach patient communities globally with this promising, important medicine,” said Sue Evans, Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs, Aurinia.

Robert McQuade PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc, noted, “Helping patients affected by kidney disease, an area that until recently has not experienced the scientific advances of some other disease areas, has been a core priority for Otsuka and Aurinia. With lupus nephritis affecting at least four out of 100,000 people in Europe, the CHMP's positive recommendation for regulatory approval of voclosporin is an important step forward in the application of the recent science to bring new treatment options to more patients.”

The positive opinion from CHMP is based on the results of the pivotal Phase 3 AURORA 1 study and the recent AURORA 2 continuation study, which demonstrated voclosporin was safe and well tolerated in adults with LN for up to three years of treatment with no new safety signals and stable renal function. The results of the AURORA 1 study were published in The Lancet and demonstrated that voclosporin, in combination with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and low-dose corticosteroids, led to statistically superior complete renal response rates at 52 weeks compared to treatment with MMF and low-dose corticosteroids alone. The study also showed statistically superior time to achieve a urine protein creatinine ratio (UPCR) of <0.5 mg/mg and time to achieve a 50% reduction in UPCR for voclosporin, with the difference between treatment groups becoming apparent within the first month of treatment and sustained over one year. The AURORA 2 study demonstrated long-term safety and tolerability of voclosporin with a similar safety profile to control and no unexpected safety signals compared to placebo (both taken in combination with MMF and low-dose oral steroids) in patients receiving treatment for an additional 24 months following their completion in the AURORA 1 study. Results from the AURORA 2 study were recently presented at the 59th European Renal Association (ERA) Congress and at the European Congress of Rheumatology, European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) 2022.

About Lupus Nephritis

LN is a serious manifestation of SLE, a chronic and complex autoimmune disease. About 200,000-300,000 people live with SLE in the U.S. and about one-third of these people are diagnosed with lupus nephritis at the time of their SLE diagnosis. About 50 percent of all people with SLE may develop LN. If poorly controlled, LN can lead to permanent and irreversible tissue damage within the kidney. Black and Asian individuals with SLE are four times more likely to develop LN and individuals of Hispanic ancestry are approximately twice as likely to develop the disease when compared with Caucasian individuals. Black and Hispanic individuals with SLE also tend to develop LN earlier and have poorer outcomes when compared to Caucasian individuals.


LUPKYNIS® is the first U.S. FDA-approved oral medicine for the treatment of adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN). LUPKYNIS is a novel, structurally modified calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) with a dual mechanism of action, acting as an immunosuppressant through inhibition of T-cell activation and cytokine production and promoting podocyte stability in the kidney. The recommended starting dose of LUPKYNIS is three capsules twice daily with no requirement for serum drug monitoring. Dose modifications can be made based on Aurinia’s proprietary personalized eGFR-based dosing protocol. Boxed Warning, warnings, and precautions for LUPKYNIS are consistent with those of other CNI-immunosuppressive treatments.

About Aurinia

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering therapies to treat targeted patient populations that are impacted by serious diseases with a high unmet medical need. In January 2021, the Company introduced LUPKYNIS® (voclosporin), the first FDA-approved oral therapy for the treatment of adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN). The Company’s head office is in Victoria, British Columbia, its U.S. commercial hub is in Rockville, Maryland. The Company focuses its development efforts globally.



LUPKYNIS is indicated in combination with a background immunosuppressive therapy regimen for the treatment of adult patients with active LN. Limitations of Use: Safety and efficacy of LUPKYNIS have not been established in combination with cyclophosphamide. Use of LUPKYNIS is not recommended in this situation.



Increased risk for developing malignancies and serious infections with LUPKYNIS or other immunosuppressants that may lead to hospitalization or death.


LUPKYNIS is contraindicated in patients taking strong CYP3A4 inhibitors because of the increased risk of acute and/or chronic nephrotoxicity, and in patients who have had a serious/severe hypersensitivity reaction to LUPKYNIS or its excipients.


Lymphoma and Other Malignancies: Immunosuppressants, including LUPKYNIS, increase the risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly of the skin. The risk appears to be related to increasing doses and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of any specific agent.

Serious Infections: Immunosuppressants, including LUPKYNIS, increase the risk of developing bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections (including opportunistic infections), which may lead to serious, including fatal, outcomes.

Nephrotoxicity: LUPKYNIS, like other CNIs, may cause acute and/or chronic nephrotoxicity. The risk is increased when CNIs are concomitantly administered with drugs associated with nephrotoxicity.

Hypertension: Hypertension is a common adverse reaction of LUPKYNIS therapy and may require antihypertensive therapy.

Neurotoxicity: LUPKYNIS, like other CNIs, may cause a spectrum of neurotoxicities: severe include posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES), delirium, seizure, and coma; others include tremor, paresthesia, headache, and changes in mental status and/or motor and sensory functions.

Hyperkalemia: Hyperkalemia, which may be serious and require treatment, has been reported with CNIs, including LUPKYNIS. Concomitant use of agents associated with hyperkalemia may increase the risk for hyperkalemia.

QTc Prolongation: LUPKYNIS prolongs the QTc interval in a dose-dependent manner when dosed higher than the recommended lupus nephritis therapeutic dose. The use of LUPKYNIS in combination with other drugs that are known to prolong QTc may result in clinically significant QT prolongation.

Immunizations: Avoid the use of live attenuated vaccines during treatment with LUPKYNIS. Inactivated vaccines noted to be safe for administration may not be sufficiently immunogenic during treatment with LUPKYNIS.

Pure Red Cell Aplasia: Cases of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) have been reported in patients treated with another CNI immunosuppressant. If PRCA is diagnosed, consider discontinuation of LUPKYNIS.

Drug-Drug Interactions: Avoid co-administration of LUPKYNIS and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors or with strong or moderate CYP3A4 inducers. Reduce LUPKYNIS dosage when co-administered with moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors. Reduce dosage of certain P-gp substrates with narrow therapeutic windows when co-administered.


The most common adverse reactions (>3%) were glomerular filtration rate decreased, hypertension, diarrhea, headache, anemia, cough, urinary tract infection, abdominal pain upper, dyspepsia, alopecia, renal impairment, abdominal pain, mouth ulceration, fatigue, tremor, acute kidney injury, and decreased appetite.


Pregnancy/Lactation: May cause fetal harm. Advise not to breastfeed.

Renal Impairment: Not recommended in patients with baseline eGFR ≤45 mL/min/1.73 m2 unless benefit exceeds risk. Severe renal impairment: Reduce LUPKYNIS dose.

Mild and Moderate Hepatic Impairment: Reduce LUPKYNIS dose. Severe hepatic impairment: Avoid LUPKYNIS use.

Please see Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning, and Medication Guide for LUPKYNIS.


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