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Calquence tablet formulation approved in the US across current indications

New formulation can be co-administered with gastric acid-reducing agents. Tablet offers equivalent efficacy, safety and consistent dosing compared to current capsule.

AstraZeneca’s new tablet formulation of Calquence (acalabrutinib) has been approved in the US for all current indications, including adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), which is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate.

The approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was based on results from the ELEVATE-PLUS trials presented during the 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition in December 2021.1

In the trials, results showed the Calquence capsule and tablet formulations are bioequivalent, indicating the same efficacy and safety profile can be expected with the same dosing strength and schedule.1 The tablet can be taken with gastric acid-reducing agents, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids and H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs).1,2 The majority of observed adverse events (AEs) in these studies were mild with no new safety concerns identified.1

John C. Byrd, MD, Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, said: “Patients with blood cancers like chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and mantle cell lymphoma are often older and may face multiple medical conditions that may need intervention, including acid reflux or peptic ulcer disease. The US approval of acalabrutinib in a tablet form enables co-administration of the acalabrutinib tablet alongside a proton pump inhibitor. This provides another option for some patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, enabling more patients to potentially benefit from this treatment.”

Dave Fredrickson, Executive Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “Today’s approval of the new Calquence tablet formulation will offer physicians and patients increased flexibility when devising treatment plans for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and mantle cell lymphoma. This new option is a result of our focus on understanding the wants and needs of this community and providing patient-focused solutions for their treatment.”

Calquence is also approved as a capsule formulation for the same indications as the tablet in the US and in many other countries worldwide.3 Indications may vary by market.


CLL is the most prevalent type of leukaemia in adults, with over 100,000 new cases globally in 2019 and an estimated 20,160 new cases in the US in 2022.4,5 Although some people with CLL may not experience any symptoms at diagnosis, others may experience symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue, weight loss, chills, fever, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes and abdominal pain.6

In CLL, there is an accumulation of abnormal lymphocytes within the bone marrow. As the number of abnormal cells increases, there is less room within the marrow for the production of normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. This could result in anaemia, infection and bleeding.7 B-cell receptor signalling through BTK is one of the essential growth pathways for CLL.

MCL is an uncommon subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.8 MCL comprises about 3-6% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, with an annual incidence of 0.5 per 100,000 population in Western countries; in the US, it is estimated that approximately 4,000 new cases of MCL are diagnosed each year.8,9 While MCL patients initially respond to treatment, patients do tend to relapse.8

ELEVATE-PLUS is comprised of three Phase I, open-label, single-dose, cross-over studies conducted in 116 healthy subjects. The trials established bioequivalence between acalabrutinib tablets (100mg) and acalabrutinib (100mg) capsules, evaluated the PPI effect of acalabrutinib tablets administered in the presence versus absence of PPI rabeprazole and investigated the effect of food by comparing acalabrutinib tablets administered with a high-fat diet versus fasted.1

Calquence (acalabrutinib) is a next-generation, selective inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). Calquence binds covalently to BTK, thereby inhibiting its activity.3,10 In B cells, BTK signalling results in activation of pathways necessary for B-cell proliferation, trafficking, chemotaxis and adhesion.3

Calquence is available for prescribing in capsule and tablet formulations in the US. Calquence tablets and capsules are approved in the US for the treatment of CLL and SLL, and for the treatment of adult patients with MCL who have received at least one prior therapy. Capsules have restrictions in relation to use with gastric acid reducing agents. The tablets are not licensed in the European Union.

Calquence capsules are approved for CLL in the EU and many other countries worldwide and approved in Japan for relapsed or refractory CLL and SLL. A Phase I trial is currently underway in Japan for the treatment of front-line CLL.

In the US and several other countries, Calquence capsules are also approved for the treatment of adult patients with MCL who have received at least one prior therapy. The US MCL indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. Calquence is not currently approved for the treatment of MCL in Europe or Japan.

As part of an extensive clinical development programme, AstraZeneca and Acerta Pharma are currently evaluating Calquence in more than 20 company-sponsored clinical trials. Calquence is being evaluated for the treatment of multiple B-cell blood cancers, including CLL, MCL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia, follicular lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma.

AstraZeneca in haematology
AstraZeneca is pushing the boundaries of science to redefine care in haematology. We have expanded our commitment to patients with haematologic conditions, not only in oncology but also in rare diseases with the acquisition of Alexion, allowing us to reach more patients with high unmet needs. By applying our deep understanding of blood cancers, leveraging our strength in solid tumour oncology and delivering on Alexion’s pioneering legacy in complement science to provide innovative medicines for rare diseases, we are pursuing the end-to-end development of novel therapies designed to target underlying drivers of disease.

Our goal is to help transform the lives of patients living with malignant, rare and other related haematologic diseases, shaped by insights from patients, caregivers and physicians to have the most meaningful impact.  

AstraZeneca in oncology
AstraZeneca is leading a revolution in oncology with the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form, following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to discover, develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients.

The Company’s focus is on some of the most challenging cancers. It is through persistent innovation that AstraZeneca has built one of the most diverse portfolios and pipelines in the industry, with the potential to catalyse changes in the practice of medicine and transform the patient experience.

AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer care and, one day, eliminate cancer as a cause of death.

AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit astrazeneca.com and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

For details on how to contact the Investor Relations Team, please click here. For media contacts, click here.


  1. Sharma S, Pepin X, Burri H, et al. New acalabrutinib formulation enables co-administration with proton pump inhibitors and dosing in patients unable to swallow capsules (ELEVATE-PLUS). [abstract and poster]. Presented at: 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition; December 11-14, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia. Abs 4365.
  2. Calquence® (acalabrutinib) tablets [prescribing information]. Wilmington, DE; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; 2022.
  3. Calquence® (acalabrutinib) capsules [prescribing information]. Wilmington, DE; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; 2019.
  4. National Cancer Institute. Cancer stat facts: leukemia — chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Accessed online. Accessed August 2022.
  5. Yao Y, Lin X, Li F, et al. The global burden and attributable risk factors of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2019: analysis based on the global burden of disease study 2019. Biomed Eng Online. 2022;1: 4. doi: 10.1186/s12938-021-00973-6.
  6. American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Accessed online. Accessed August 2022.
  7. National Cancer Institute. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment (PDQ®)–Patient version. Accessed online. Accessed August 2022.
  8. Cheah C, Seymour J, Wang ML. Mantle cell lymphoma. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34(11):1256-1269. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.5904.
  9. MD Anderson Cancer Center. What to know about mantle cell lymphoma. Accessed online. Accessed August 2022.
  10. Wu J, Zhang M, Liu D. Acalabrutinib (ACP-196): a selective second-generation BTK inhibitor. J Hematol Oncol. 2016;9(21).

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