This approval was based on data from Shire’s velaglucerase alfa clinical development programme which represents the largest and most comprehensive clinical data set supporting registration for an ERT for type 1 Gaucher disease. In total, over 100 Gaucher patients at 24 sites in 10 countries around the world participated in the clinical studies, all of which met their primary endpoints.
"Gaucher disease is a rare and often debilitating condition," said Professor Tim Cox from the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, and founder of the largest U.K. Gaucher clinic at Addenbrooke's Hospital. "The European approval of VPRIV is important in that we now have an alternative, licensed therapeutic enzyme. For type 1 patients the availability of VPRIV provides further opportunities to individualise treatment options for this complex disorder."
Across Europe, hundreds of type 1 Gaucher patients have been receiving velaglucerase alfa through early access programmes, developed in partnership with national authorities, Gaucher expert physicians and patient associations. Globally there are over 850 patients on velaglucerase alfa and demand continues to be strong. As a result, Shire has implemented a program to carefully monitor demand and manage requests from physicians and patients in order to ensure long-term, uninterrupted treatment with VPRIV.
"The Marketing Authorisation for VPRIV in the EU is an important milestone for Shire," said Sylvie Grégoire, President, Shire Human Genetic Therapies. "Our efforts to accelerate our manufacturing, clinical and regulatory timelines have resulted in VPRIV's approval in Europe and the US months ahead of schedule."
Velaglucerase alfa is made using Shire's gene-activation technology, in a human cell line. Velaglucerase alfa has the exact human amino acid sequence as the endogenous glucocerebrosidase enzyme and also has a human glycosylation pattern. The safety and efficacy of velaglucerase alfa was assessed in adults and children aged 4 years and older via a phase three program, which included Gaucher patients who switched to velaglucerase alfa after being treated with imiglucerase, as well as naïve patients, including an active comparison with imiglucerase. VPRIV was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration on February 26, 2010.
About Gaucher Disease
Gaucher disease is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the GBA gene which results in a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme beta-glucocerebrosidase. This enzymatic deficiency causes an accumulation of glucocerebroside, primarily in macrophages. In this lysosomal storage disorder (LSD), clinical features are reflective of the distribution of Gaucher cells in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and other organs. The accumulation of glucocerebrosidase in the liver and spleen leads to organomegaly. Presence of Gaucher cells in the bone marrow and spleen lead to clinically significant anemia and thrombocytopenia.
Gaucher disease is the most prevalent of the lysosomal storage disorders diseases. Gaucher disease has classically been categorized into 3 clinical types. Type 1 Gaucher disease is characterized by variability in signs, symptoms, severity, and progression. Type 1 is the most common and is distinguished from type 2 and type 3 by the lack of early neurological symptoms.
About Shire plc
Shire's strategic goal is to become the leading specialty biopharmaceutical company that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician. Shire focuses its business on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), human genetic therapies (HGT) and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases as well as opportunities in other therapeutic areas to the extent they arise through acquisitions. Shire's in-licensing, merger and acquisition efforts are focused on products in specialist markets with strong intellectual property protection and global rights. Shire believes that a carefully selected and balanced portfolio of products with strategically aligned and relatively small-scale sales forces will deliver strong results. For further information on Shire, please visit the Company's website: www.shire.com.