Akcea Therapeutics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISIS), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Orphan Drug Designation to volanesorsen (ISIS-APOCIIIRx) for the treatment of patients with Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome (FCS). FCS is a rare genetic disease characterized by extremely high triglyceride levels and risk of pancreatitis. In a Phase 2 study published in the NEJM in December 2014, patients with FCS treated with volanesorsen achieved substantial reductions in apoC-III, triglycerides, chylomicrons and apoC-III-associated very low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-C) particles. Akcea is currently conducting an international multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 study in patients with FCS.
"FCS is a rare and very serious genetic disorder associated with very high triglyceride levels that put patients at risk of potentially life-threatening pancreatitis. People with FCS cope with daily consequences of their disease, including persistent abdominal pain and life-altering food restrictions. Unfortunately, current treatment options do not reduce triglyceride levels enough to reduce the risk of serious illness in patients with FCS," said Paula Soteropoulos, President and Chief Executive Officer at Akcea Therapeutics. "Orphan drug designation for FCS underscores the need for improved therapies to treat patients with FCS and is an important benchmark as we complete the ongoing Phase 3 study in patients with FCS and prepare for commercialization."
The Orphan Drug Act provides for economic incentives to encourage the development of drugs for diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Orphan drug designation entitles Akcea Therapeutics to seven years of market exclusivity in the United States if market approval is granted for volanesorsen for the treatment of patients with FCS. Additional incentives include tax credits related to clinical trial expenses, an exemption from the FDA-user fee, and FDA assistance in clinical trial design.
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.