Nycomed's novel anti-inflammatory therapy Daxas® (roflumilast) recommended for approval in the European Union

NycomedNycomed has received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), recommending the approval of Daxas (roflumilast) in the European Union. Daxas® is a proprietary selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) enzyme inhibitor that has been developed by Nycomed for the treatment of COPD.

Daxas® is recommended for maintenance treatment of severe COPD (FEV1 post-bronchodilator less than 50% predicted) associated with chronic bronchitis in adult patients with a history of frequent exacerbations as an add-on to bronchodilator treatment. With the granting of the marketing authorisation by the European Commission, Daxas, a once-a-day tablet, would become the first drug in a new class. Daxas is expected to be launched in the first European countries later this year.

Commenting on today's announcement, Anders Ullman, Executive Vice President Research and Development at Nycomed, said: "Nycomed is excited about the positive opinion of the CHMP recommending approval of Daxas in the European Union. Daxas is the first in a new class of oral agents to treat this life-threatening condition, offering clinicians and patients a much needed new treatment option alongside existing inhaled therapies."

The application to the EMA was based on encouraging results from four Phase III trials of roflumilast in the treatment of symptomatic COPD. In two pivotal placebo controlled, 12-month studies involving a total of over 3,000 patients with COPD, roflumilast demonstrated statistically significant improvements on both co-primary endpoints; moderate to severe exacerbations and pre-bronchodilator FEV1(1). The effect of Daxas was independent of concomitant use of long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA)(1). Roflumilast also demonstrated a statistically significant improvement compared to placebo on lung function, in two supportive studies over a six month period when added to the commonly used long-acting bronchodilators tiotropium or salmeterol(2).

Full data from all four studies were published in The Lancet in August 2009 and were presented at the annual European Respiratory Society (ERS) Congress in Vienna, Austria, in September 2009.

The complete summary of the positive CHMP opinion can be downloaded on the EMA website:

Nycomed submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2009 and has signed a collaboration and distribution agreement for Daxas in the US with Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX) in August 2009.

About Daxas® (roflumilast)
Daxas (roflumilast) is an orally administered selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) enzyme inhibitor, which has been shown to inhibit COPD related inflammation with a novel mode of action(3). If approved, Daxas, a once-a-day tablet, will be the first drug in a new class of treatment for COPD. It will also be the first oral anti-inflammatory treatment for COPD patients. Current pharmacological treatment for COPD patients includes the use of inhaled bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.

About COPD
COPD remains a significant area of unmet medical need. It is a progressive and irreversible lung disease resulting in difficulty in breathing. The disease is characterized by severe episodes of worsening, called exacerbations. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 80 million people have moderate to severe COPD worldwide. More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which corresponds to 5% of all deaths globally. The WHO predicts that total deaths from COPD could increase by more than 30% in the next 10 years unless urgent action is taken to reduce the underlying risk factors, especially smoking. (see

About Nycomed
Nycomed is a privately owned global pharmaceutical company with a differentiated portfolio focused on branded medicines in gastroenterology, respiratory and inflammatory diseases, pain, osteoporosis and tissue management. An extensive range of OTC products completes the portfolio.

Its R&D is structured around partnerships and in-licensing is a cornerstone of the company's growth strategy.

Nycomed employs 12,000 associates worldwide, and its products are available in more than 100 countries. It has strong platforms in Europe and in fast-growing markets such as Russia/CIS and Latin America. While the US and Japan are commercialised through best-in-class partners, Nycomed plans to further strengthen its own position in key Asian markets.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the company generated total sales of €3.2 billion in 2009 and an adjusted EBITDA of €1.1 billion.

For more information visit

1. Calverley PMA, et al. Roflumilast treatment in symptomatic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Lancet 2009: 374, 685–94
2. Fabbri LM et al. Roflumilast improves lung function in patients with moderately severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treated with long acting bronchodilators. The Lancet 2009: 374, 695–703
3. Hatzelmann A, Morcillo EJ, Lungarella G, Adnot S, Sanjar S, Beume R, Schudt C, Tenor H. The preclinical pharmacology of roflumilast – a selective, oral phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor in development for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2010.03.011