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Vertex Pharma's Orkambi gets US FDA nod to treat underlying cause of CF for children ages 2-5 years

pharmabiz 2018-08-09 12:00:00

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) to include use in children ages 2 through 5 years with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have two copies of the F508del-CFTR mutation, making it the first medicine approved to treat the underlying cause of CF in this population. Orkambi oral granules are available in two dosage strengths (lumacaftor 100mg/ivacaftor 125mg and lumacaftor 150mg/ivacaftor 188mg) for weight-based dosing. Orkambi oral granules should be available for fulfillment within 2 to 4 weeks.

“For the first time, children ages 2 through 5 who have the most common form of CF have a treatment for the underlying cause of their disease,” said Reshma Kewalramani, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Vertex. “We believe it is important to treat the underlying cause of the disease as early as possible and this approval is another significant milestone in our journey to bring effective medicines to all people living with CF.”

This FDA approval is based on a Phase 3 open-label safety study in 60 patients that showed treatment with Orkambi was generally safe and well tolerated for 24 weeks, with a safety profile similar to that in patients ages 6 years and older. Improvements in sweat chloride, a secondary endpoint, were observed at week 24 (mean decrease in sweat chloride from baseline of 31.7 mmol/L; 95% CI: -35.7, -27.6, n=49). Researchers also saw changes in key growth parameters, which were also secondary endpoints in the study. The most common adverse event (=30%) was cough (63%); most adverse events were mild or moderate in severity. Four patients experienced serious adverse events (2 pulmonary exacerbations, 1 gastroenteritis, 1 constipation) and three patients discontinued treatment due to treatment emergent adverse events or elevated liver function tests. These findings were presented at the 41st European Cystic Fibrosis Society Conference in June 2018.

“Cystic fibrosis is a systemic, multi-organ, progressive disease that is present from birth,” said Dr. John McNamara, medical director of the cystic fibrosis programme at Children’s Minnesota hospital and lead study researcher. “Research suggests Orkambi could impact CF outcomes in patients as young as two years old. This approval is a significant development that enables physicians to begin treating the underlying cause of the disease in this population earlier than ever before.”

Orkambi was already approved in the US for the treatment of CF in patients ages 6 and older who have two copies of the F508del-CFTR mutation. A Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) line extension for Orkambi in children ages 2 through 5 years has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with a decision anticipated in the first half of 2019.