ChemoCentryx’s drug gets U.S. FDA nod to treat rare autoimmune disease, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Oishee Majumdar and Dania Nadeem

ChemoCentryx Inc said on Friday the U.S. health agency approved its lead drug for treating a rare, fatal autoimmune disease, sending the biopharmaceutical company’s shares up by more than 70%.

The company said the drug, called avacopan and sold under the brand name Tavneos, was expected to be available to clinicians and patients in the next few weeks.

Avacopan is administered orally to treat antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides (AAV) – a group of conditions characterized by destruction and inflammation of small blood vessels and affecting different organs, particularly the kidney.

It works by blocking the activity of a protein called C5a receptor, which is responsible for causing numerous inflammatory diseases.

Current treatments for the disease include immunosuppressant such as Biogen Inc and partner Roche Holding AG’s cancer drug Rituxan, combined with daily administration of steroids, which can cause severe side effects.

The disease affects about 40,000 people in the United States, with about 4,000 new cases each year, according to the company.

Stifel analyst Dae Gon Ha estimates Avacopan to generate sales of $1.3 billion by 2035.

The drug had received mixed reviews from an expert panel to the U.S. Food and Drug

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Malaria vaccine: When will it be available?

Image source, AFP
Image caption, Children in Malawi, pictured here, as well as Ghana and Kenya were part of a pilot programme

With more than 260,000 children under five dying from malaria each year in sub-Saharan Africa, this development, decades in the making, could save tens of thousands of lives, the WHO says.

But when will people start benefitting from the vaccine known as RTS,S?

We have been looking at that and some other key questions.

How effective and safe is it?

The vaccine was proven effective six years ago, preventing 40% of malaria cases and 30% of severe cases.

Since 2019, researchers have been carrying out wider pilot immunisation programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

More than 800,000 children have received at least one dose and the WHO says there are no safety concerns.

Does it matter that the protection is relatively low?

It would obviously be better if it was higher, but what many would say is you need to think about the scale of the problem – with hundreds of millions of cases, a 40% reduction is still a huge number of lives saved.

“This is a moderately efficacious vaccine… [but] saving, preserving, avoiding 30-40% of cases

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