FDA approves novel treatment to target abnormality in sickle cell disease

FDAToday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Oxbryta (voxelotor) for the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD) in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older.

"Today's approval provides additional hope to the 100,000 people in the U.S., and the more than 20 million globally, who live with this debilitating blood disorder," said Acting FDA Commissioner Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D. "Our scientific investments have brought us to a point where we have many more tools available in the battle against sickle cell disease, which presents daily challenges for those living with it. We remain committed to raising the profile of this disease as a public health priority and to approving new therapies that are proven to be safe and effective. Together with improved provider education, patient empowerment, and improved care delivery systems, these newly approved drugs have the potential to immediately impact people living with SCD."

Sickle cell disease is a lifelong, inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells are abnormally shaped (in a crescent, or "sickle" shape), which restricts the flow in blood vessels and limits oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues, leading to severe pain and organ damage. It is also characterized by severe and chronic inflammation that worsens vaso-occlusive crises during which patients experience episodes of extreme pain and organ damage. Nonclinical studies have demonstrated that Oxbryta inhibits red blood cell sickling, improves red blood cell deformability (ability of a red blood cell to change shape) and improves the blood's ability to flow.

"Oxbryta is an inhibitor of deoxygenated sickle hemoglobin polymerization, which is the central abnormality in sickle cell disease," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "With Oxbryta, sickle cells are less likely to bind together and form the sickle shape, which can cause low hemoglobin levels due to red blood cell destruction. This therapy provides a new treatment option for patients with this serious and life-threatening condition."

Oxbryta's approval was based on the results of a clinical trial with 274 patients with sickle cell disease. In the study, 90 patients received 1500 mg of Oxbryta, 92 patients received 900 mg of Oxbryta and 92 patients received a placebo. Effectiveness was based on an increase in hemoglobin response rate in patients who received 1500 mg of Oxbryta, which was 51.1% for these patients compared to 6.5% in the placebo group.

Common side effects for patients taking Oxbryta were headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, rash and pyrexia (fever).

Oxbryta was granted Accelerated Approval, which enables the FDA to approve drugs for serious conditions to fill an unmet medical need based on a result that is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit to patients. Further clinical trials are required to verify and describe Oxbryta's clinical benefit.

The FDA granted this application Fast Track designation. Oxbryta also received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases. The FDA granted the approval of Oxbryta to Global Blood Therapeutics.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Most Popular Now

Positive Phase 1 data from mRNA-based individualiz…

BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX, "BioNTech") announced initial data from an ongoing investigator-initiated first-in-human Phase 1 study evaluating the safety and tolerability o...

FDA approves RIABNI™ (rituximab-arrx), a biosimila…

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved RIABNI™ (rituximab-arrx), a biosimilar to Rituxan®, in combination with ...

Pfizer to invest $120 million to produce COVID-19 …

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced today that it will further strengthen its commitment to United States manufacturing with a $120 million investment at its Kalamazoo, Mic...

Proteomic study of 2,002 tumors identifies 11 pan-…

A new study that analyzed protein levels in 2,002 primary tumors from 14 tissue-based cancer types identified 11 distinct molecular subtypes, providing systematic knowled...

A new technology offers treatment for HIV infectio…

A new study from Tel Aviv University offers a new and unique treatment for AIDS which may be developed into a vaccine or a one time treatment for patients with HIV. The s...

Sanoff offers perspective on a promising rectal ca…

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center's Hanna K. Sanoff, MD, MPH, is the author of a viewpoint in the New England Journal of Medicine that provides a perspective on ...

Broadly neutralizing antibodies could provide immu…

Two broadly neutralizing antibodies show great promise to provide long-acting immunity against COVID-19 in immunocompromised populations according to a paper published Ju...

Boehringer Ingelheim signs option to acquire Truti…

Boehringer Ingelheim announced the signing of an option to acquire Trutino Biosciences Inc. (the "Transaction"), a San Diego-based biotech company. Trutino Biosciences...

Novel drug combo activates natural killer cell imm…

Most skin cancer drugs that activate the immune system work by triggering immune cells, called T cells, to attack tumors, but when T cells are activated for too long, the...

Novartis announces Nature Medicine publication of …

Novartis announced that Nature Medicine published final results from both the two- and three-copy cohorts of the completed Phase 3 SPR1NT trial as separate companion manu...

COVID-19 rebound after taking Paxlovid likely due …

Paxlovid is the leading oral medication for preventing severe cases of COVID-19 in high-risk individuals. However, symptoms returned in some patients after treatment was ...

Biomarkers found that could be drug targets agains…

Biomarkers that could be targets for novel drugs to treat glioblastoma brain tumors have been identified by investigators at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Cent...