Santarus, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNTS) and Pharming Group NV (NYSE Euronext: PHARM) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing the Biologics License Application (BLA) for the investigational drug RUCONEST® (recombinant human C1 esterase inhibitor) 50 IU/kg. Santarus and Pharming are seeking U.S. marketing approval of RUCONEST for the treatment of acute angioedema attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE). The FDA indicated that as part of its review it plans to present the BLA to the Blood Products Advisory Committee. Pursuant to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) guidelines, Santarus and Pharming expect the FDA will complete its review or otherwise respond to the RUCONEST BLA by April 16, 2014.
“We believe RUCONEST has the potential to be an important new therapeutic option for patients experiencing acute HAE attacks based on the data contained in the BLA from ten clinical studies covering 940 administrations of the drug.”
The safety and efficacy of RUCONEST for the treatment of HAE attacks were evaluated in a clinical program that included a Phase III randomized placebo-controlled study conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment agreement with the FDA. The RUCONEST clinical program also included two additional randomized placebo-controlled studies and several open label treatment studies.
"RUCONEST is the first recombinant C1 esterase inhibitor developed with the goal of treating the pain and swelling associated with acute HAE attacks," said Gerald T. Proehl, president and chief executive officer of Santarus. "We believe RUCONEST has the potential to be an important new therapeutic option for patients experiencing acute HAE attacks based on the data contained in the BLA from ten clinical studies covering 940 administrations of the drug."
"Acceptance of the BLA is a pivotal event for Pharming and represents the most significant step to date in our efforts to obtain marketing approval for RUCONEST in the U.S.," said Sijmen de Vries, chief executive officer of Pharming. "We look forward to working with our colleagues at Santarus to move RUCONEST through the U.S. regulatory process, and ultimately provide a new HAE therapy to physicians and the patients they treat."
Santarus licensed certain exclusive rights from Pharming to commercialize RUCONEST in North America for the treatment of acute attacks of HAE as well as other potential future indications. Under the terms of the license agreement, a $5 million milestone is payable to Pharming as a result of the FDA acceptance for review of the BLA for RUCONEST.