Alexion announces that FDA grants ODD to Soliris for Myasthenia Gravis treatment

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALXN) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation (ODD) to Soliris® (eculizumab) for the treatment of patients with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), a rare, debilitating neurologic disorder caused by uncontrolled complement activation. In patients with MG, uncontrolled complement activation due to antibodies directed at the neuromuscular junction can ultimately lead to profound and debilitating weakness of various muscle groups throughout the body.

"Patients with MG develop debilitating muscle weakness, impairing their ability to walk, speak clearly, swallow and, in some cases, to breathe normally, which could lead to a life-threatening myasthenic crisis," said Martin Mackay, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Global Head of R&D at Alexion. "By specifically inhibiting the terminal complement pathway, which is believed to play a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of MG, we believe that eculizumab has the potential to help patients living with this devastating rare disorder."

Soliris is a first-in-class terminal complement inhibitor and is currently approved for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), two debilitating, ultra-rare and life-threatening disorders caused by chronic uncontrolled complement activation. Soliris is not approved in any country to treat MG. Alexion is enrolling patients in a multinational, placebo-controlled registration trial of eculizumab in patients with refractory generalized MG. More information on this trial is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov under the identifier NCT01997229.

The FDA, through its Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD), grants orphan status to drugs and biologic products that are intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of rare diseases or disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Orphan drug designation provides a drug developer with certain benefits and incentives, including a period of marketing exclusivity if regulatory approval is ultimately received for the designated indication.

Source: Alexion Pharmaceuticals

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