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Ovarian Cancer Therapy Zejula Newly Funded by Government

  • Zejula, a once-daily capsule, to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from 1st September for women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer with a BRCA mutation
  • Ovarian cancer survival rate remains significantly low – 1 in 2 (48%) will lose their fight in 5 years1
  • Government funding marks renewed focus and commitment to ovarian cancer which has a poor prognosis and limited treatment options2

GSK Australia is pleased to announce that Zejula (niraparib) will be listed, for the first time, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from September 1, 2022. Zejula has been funded for the treatment of women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who have a BRCA mutation.

The survival rate for women in Australia with ovarian cancer still remains just half that of breast cancer (48% versus 92% after 5 years).1,3 This means of those ~1700 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Australia every year, the equivalent of 850 women will lose their fight to the disease by 2027.1

While the BRCA gene type is present in all women, certain mutations in these genes increase the likelihood of developing cancer.4 Additionally, some women have a BRCA mutation in their tumour only. Given the link between ovarian cancer and BRCA mutations, it is important for women diagnosed to consider seeking BRCA testing.

Approximately 25% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will have a BRCA mutation5 – meaning that Zejula will provide ~400 of these vulnerable women every year with a new, fully funded treatment option.

Due to non-specific symptoms and a lack of accurate testing to identify the disease at an early stage, unfortunately most women are diagnosed when ovarian cancer is advanced, making it challenging to treat with limited options available.6

Zejula is a medicine taken as capsules once a day and is a poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitor (more commonly known as a PARP inhibitor), which works by stopping proteins in the body from repairing ovarian cancer cells, causing them to die – which then helps to control the cancer.7

“There is currently an unacceptable disparity in survival rates for women with ovarian cancer when looking at other cancers like breast, and we should not sit comfortably with the state of play,” said Prof. Martin Oehler, Gynaecological Oncologist at Burnside Hospital, Adelaide. “We require new treatment options for women suffering with this insidious disease, which is why the funding of Zejula is such an important step forward.”

“Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late, even for women who have a genetic link in their family,” said Sarah Powell, CEO of the patient support group Pink Hope. “Any additional treatment options are to be welcomed and we’re grateful to the Government for reimbursing this treatment. We know that there is more to be done to improve outcomes for all women diagnosed with this difficult challenging disease but are hopeful for the future with today’s news.”

“GSK is proud to have brought Zejula to women in Australia who are in desperate need of more treatment options,” said Patrick Desbiens, General Manager of GSK Australia & New Zealand. “GSK is determined to improve outcomes for women with gynaecological cancers. We are focusing our science, technology and people on this area where we can make a big impact.”

About Zejula
Zejula is indicated for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with advanced high-grade ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in response (complete or partial) following completion of first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Zejula is now funded for women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer with a BRCA mutation. Please see www.gsk.com.au/zejulacmi for further information.

Safety Information:
Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your specific situation. The following common side effects may occur when taking Zejula; tiredness, weakness, stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, decreased appetite, inability to sleep, headache, dizziness, runny nose, shortness of breath, cough, high blood pressure, urinary tract infection, heart palpitations, back pain and joint pain. Please see gsk.com.au/ZejulaCMI for further information.

About GSK
GSK is a global biopharma company with a purpose to unite science, technology, and talent to get ahead of disease together. Find out more at gsk.com/company

In relation to this GSK media announcement, no honorarium was provided to Prof. Martin Oehler. He has been briefed by GSK on the TGA-approved use of the product.

For media enquiries please contact:

CUBE                                                   GSK Australia 
Anne-Marie Sparrow                              Courtney Walkinshaw 
+61 417 421 560                                 +64 21 529 795  
anne-marie@cube.com.au                      courtney.x.walkinshaw@gsk.com

References

  1. Cancer Australia. Ovarian cancer statistics in Australia. Available: https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/ovarian-cancer/statistics. https://www.ovariancancer.net.au/page/152/the-statistics.Accessed July 2022.
  2. Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, ‘Facts About Ovarian Cancer’, Available online: https://www.ocrf.com.au/page/74/facts-about-ovarian-cancer. Accessed July 2022 Cancer Australia. Breast cancer statistics in Australia. Available: https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/breast-cancer/statistics. Accessed July 2022.
  3. Ovarian Cancer Australia. GENETICS: What does this mean for me and my family? Available: https://www.ovariancancer.net.au/page/126/genetics. Accessed July 2022.
  4. Konstantinopoulos PA, Ceccaldi R, Shapiro GI, D'Andrea AD. Homologous Recombination Deficiency: Exploiting the Fundamental Vulnerability of Ovarian Cancer. Cancer Discov. 2015;5(11):1137-54.
  5. Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Facts About Ovarian Cancer. Available online: Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation - Facts about Ovarian Cancer (ocrf.com.au). Accessed July 2022
  6. ZEJULA Consumer Medicine Information. Available online: gsk.com.au/zejula. Accessed July 2022

For product information please contact GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd. 3/436 Johnston St, Abbotsford VIC 3067. ABN 47 100 162 481. For information on GSK products or to report an adverse event involving a GSK product, please contact GSK or Medical Information on 1800 033 109. ZEJULA (niraparib) Trademarks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies © 2022 GSK group of companies or its licensor. Date of approval: August 2022. NP-AU-NRP-PRSR-220001.