Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc announced last week that the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued a positive opinion by consensus recommending the approval of [removed]Kalydeco™[/removed] (ivacaftor) for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) ages 6 and older who have at least one copy of the G551D mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. In people with the G551D mutation, Kalydeco helps the defective CFTR protein function more normally, treating the underlying cause of CF.

The CHMP opinion was based on positive findings from two global phase 3 studies in which Kalydeco demonstrated improvements in breathing and other measures of disease for people ages 6 and older with this specific genetic mutation. People treated with Kalydeco experienced significant and sustained improvements in lung function, weight gain, and certain quality of life measurements compared to those on placebo, according to the results. In addition, people who took Kalydeco were 55% less likely to have pulmonary exacerbations, or periods of worsening in the signs and symptoms of the disease that often require treatment with antibiotics and hospital visits, than those who received placebo.

Fewer people in the Kalydeco treatment groups discontinued treatment due to adverse events than did those in the placebo groups. The majority of adverse events associated with Kalydeco were mild to moderate. Adverse events most commonly observed in those taking Kalydeco included headache, upper respiratory tract infection (common cold), stomach pain, and diarrhea.

“While there has been great progress in cystic fibrosis treatment during the last few decades, we are still only treating the symptoms and complications of the disease,” said Stuart Elborn, MD, Kalydeco investigator and president of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society. “Kalydeco is a fundamentally different approach to the way we treat cystic fibrosis, because it targets the underlying cause of the disease. In clinical trials, Kalydeco helped people with a specific genetic mutation breathe more easily, gain weight, and generally feel better.

The CHMP’s positive opinion will now be reviewed by the European Commission, which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union. The European Commission generally follows the recommendation of the CHMP and typically issues marketing approval within three to four months.

Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc