LEIDEN, the Netherlands, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Unique patient organization-driven program will enable patients with HAE who cannot access effective treatments to receive medication for the first time
Pharming Group N.V. ("Pharming or the Company"), Euronext: PHARM) and Clinigen Group plc ('Clinigen' or the 'Group', AIM: CLIN) have entered into an international global access collaboration for HAEi, the International Patient Organization for C1- Inhibitor Deficiencies. The "HAEi GAP" program will provide access to RUCONEST® (conestat alfa) to eligible patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE), who currently do not have access to effective medication to treat acute attacks of the disease.
HAEi GAP is the first global access program for HAE and the first to be driven by a patient organization. The program enables patients in countries where RUCONEST is not commercially available to gain access to the drug through an ethical and regulatory compliant "Named Patient Program" mechanism.
"HAEi is committed to securing access to HAE medications for patients across the globe," said Anthony J. Castaldo, President of HAEi. "We are extremely proud to have established HAEi GAP with our current partners and will continue to work with other manufacturers with the hope of expanding the program in the future."
Sijmen de Vries, CEO, Pharming said: "We are delighted to be the first partners of HAEi and to initiate this program by providing access to RUCONEST, a recombinant human C1- inhibitor, approved by EMA and FDA for the treatment of acute attacks of HAE in patients. In this way we can help to improve the lives of those HAE patients that otherwise would continue suffering from this debilitating and unpredictable disease."
Simon Estcourt, Managing Director, Managed Access Programs, Clinigen said: "HAEi's ground-breaking program will ensure that HAE sufferers worldwide can gain access to effective and potentially life-saving treatment. Our secure supply chain and regulatory expertise will enable us to work closely with Pharming to supply patients with RUCONEST ethically and legitimately, removing the need and the risk for patients to resort to other less reliable or even illegal sources of the drug. We look forward to working with both HAEi and Pharming on this unique project."
Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) is a rare genetic disorder. It is characterized by spontaneous and recurrent episodes of swelling (edema attacks) of the skin in different parts of the body, as well as in the airways and internal organs. Edema of the skin usually affects the extremities, the face, and the genitals. Patients suffering from this kind of edema often withdraw from their social lives because of the disfiguration, discomfort and pain these symptoms may cause. Almost all HAE patients suffer from bouts of severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea caused by swelling of the intestinal wall.
Edema of the throat, nose or tongue is particularly dangerous and potentially life-threatening and can lead to obstruction of the airway passages. Although there is currently no known cure for HAE, it is possible to treat the symptoms associated with edema attacks. HAE affects about 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50,000 people worldwide. Experts believe that a lot of patients are still seeking the right diagnosis: although HAE is (in principle) easy to diagnose, it is frequently identified very late or not discovered at all. The reason HAE is often misdiagnosed is because the symptoms are similar to those of many other common conditions such as allergies or appendicitis. By the time it is diagnosed correctly, the patient has often been through a long lasting ordeal.
RUCONEST® (C1 Esterase Inhibitor [Recombinant]/ conestat alfa) 50 IU/kg is an injectable medicine that is used to treat acute angioedema attacks in adult and adolescent patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE). HAE is caused by a deficiency of the C1 esterase inhibitor protein, which is present in blood and helps control inflammation (swelling) and parts of the immune system. A shortage of C1 esterase inhibitor can lead to repeated attacks of swelling, pain in the abdomen, difficulty breathing and other symptoms. RUCONEST® contains C1 esterase inhibitor at 50 IU/kg.
When administered at the onset of HAE attack symptoms at the recommended dose, RUCONEST works to return a patient's C1-INH levels to normal range and quickly begins to relieve the symptoms of an HAE attack with a low recurrence of symptoms. RUCONEST is the first and only plasma-free, recombinant C1-INH approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was approved in July 2014 and by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in October 2010.
About Global Access Programs
Global Access Programs provide biopharmaceutical companies with a way to allow ethical access to their pre-license/unlicensed medicines to help patients with unmet medical needs. Access is provided in response to physician requests, in a fully compliant manner, where no alternative treatment options are available.
HAEI - International Patient Organization for C1 inhibitor Deficiencies - is a global organization dedicated to raising awareness of C1 inhibitor deficiencies around the world. It is a non-profit international network of national HAE patient Associations. HAEI is established to promote co-operation, co-ordination and information sharing between HAE Specialists and National HAE Patient Associations in order to help facilitate the availability of effective diagnosis and management of C1 inhibitor deficiencies throughout the world. Our purpose is to join the efforts and experience of the global HAE community to achieve optimal standards of care and treatment for all those patients affected by C1 inhibitor deficiencies.
For more information, please visit: http://www.haei.org
About Pharming Group NV
Pharming Group NV is developing innovative products for the treatment of unmet medical needs. RUCONEST® (conestat alfa) is a recombinant human C1 esterase inhibitor approved for the treatment of angioedema attacks in patients with HAE in the USA, Israel all 27 EU countries plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
RUCONEST is commercialized by Pharming in Austria, Germany and The Netherlands. RUCONEST is distributed by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (SS: SOBI) in the other EU countries, and in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.
RUCONEST is partnered with Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. ("Salix") in North America. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX/TSX: VRX) completed its acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. on April 1, 2015.
RUCONEST is also being investigated in a randomized Phase II clinical trial for prophylaxis of HAE, in a phase II clinical trial for the treatment of HAE in young children (2-13 years of age) and evaluated for various additional follow-on indications.
Pharming has a unique GMP compliant, validated platform for the production of recombinant human proteins that has proven capable of producing industrial volumes of high quality recombinant human protein in a more economical way compared to current cell-based technologies. Leads for Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) in Pompe, Fabry's and Gaucher's diseases are under early evaluation. The platform is partnered with Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry (SIPI), a Sinopharm Company, for joint global development of new products. Pre-clinical development and manufacturing will take place at SIPI and are funded by SIPI. Pharming and SIPI initially plan to utilise this platform for the development of recombinant human Factor VIII for the treatment of Haemophilia A.
For more information, please visit http://www.pharming.com
About Clinigen Group
The Clinigen Group is a specialty global pharmaceutical company headquartered in the UK, with offices in the US and Japan. The Group is dedicated to delivering 'the right drug, to the right patient at the right time'. In April 2015, Clinigen acquired Idis, the market leader in the global supply of unlicensed medicines. The Group now operates as four synergistic businesses; Clinigen Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Clinigen Clinical Trials Supply, Idis Managed Access Programs (this now includes the previously branded Clinigen Global Access Programs business) and Idis General Access.
The Managed Access Programs business develops and implements exclusive access programs for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and has provided physicians with an ethical solution to access unlicensed medicines for thousands of patients with an unmet medical need.
For more information, please visit http://www.clinigengroup.com.
Sijmen de Vries, Chief Executive Officer
FTI Consulting (Pharming media relations)
Julia Phillips/ Victoria Foster Mitchell
Peter George, Group Chief Executive Officer
Shaun Chilton, Group Chief Operating Officer
Instinctif Partners (Clinigen media relations)
Melanie Toyne-Sewell/Jen Lewis/Emma Barlow