- The first targeted C3 therapy approved in the EU
- Approval based on results from head-to-head PEGASUS Phase 3 study where Aspaveli demonstrated superiority to eculizumab in improving hemoglobin levels1
- Aspaveli will have market exclusivity for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) based on orphan drug designation
WALTHAM, Mass. and STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS) and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (Sobi™) (STO:SOBI) announced today that the European Commission (EC) has approved Aspaveli® (pegcetacoplan), the first and only targeted C3 therapy, for the treatment of adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) who are anemic after treatment with a C5 inhibitor for at least three months. Based on the recommendation from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, the EC determined that pegcetacoplan continues to meet the criteria for the orphan drug designation status granted in 2017 for the treatment of PNH.
PNH is a rare, chronic and life-threatening blood disorder where uncontrolled complement activation leads to the destruction of oxygen-carrying red blood cells through intravascular hemolysis and extravascular hemolysis. Characterized by persistently low hemoglobin, PNH can result in frequent transfusions and debilitating symptoms such as severe fatigue caused by anemia. Despite improvements in hemolytic activity with C5 inhibitor treatment, approximately 72% of people with PNH treated with C5 inhibitors remain anemic, according to a retrospective and a cross-sectional study.
“The European Commission’s approval of Aspaveli is a milestone for people living with PNH across Europe,” said Guido Oelkers, chief executive officer and president at Sobi. “The symptoms of PNH can significantly impact quality of life. In addition, despite current therapy, many people still require frequent blood transfusions. We are now working with EU member states to provide access to this important medicine as quickly as possible.”
“As the first and only targeted C3 therapy in Europe, Aspaveli has the potential to elevate the standard of care for patients living with PNH,” said Federico Grossi, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer of Apellis. “Today’s approval represents the first new class of complement medicines in Europe in over a decade, building on the launch of this important treatment in the United States.”
The approval is based on the results from the head-to-head PEGASUS Phase 3 study, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of Aspaveli compared to eculizumab at 16 weeks in adults with PNH who had persistent anaemia despite treatment with eculizumab. The full safety and efficacy results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in March 2021.
Orphan drug designation is granted to therapies that treat a serious disease that affects fewer than five in 10,000 people in the EU and provide a significant benefit over existing treatments. Aspaveli will have market exclusivity based on orphan drug designation for PNH.
Aspaveli®/Empaveli™ (pegcetacoplan) is a targeted C3 therapy designed to regulate excessive activation of the complement cascade, part of the body’s immune system, which can lead to the onset and progression of many serious diseases. Aspaveli is approved in the EU as an orphan drug for the treatment of adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) who are anemic after treatment with a C5 inhibitor for at least three months and in the United States as EMPAVELI for the treatment of adults with PNH. The therapy is also under investigation for several other rare diseases across hematology, nephrology, and neurology.
About the Sobi and Apellis Collaboration
Sobi and Apellis have global co-development rights for systemic pegcetacoplan. Sobi has exclusive ex-US commercialization rights for systemic pegcetacoplan, and Apellis has exclusive US commercialization rights for systemic pegcetacoplan and retains worldwide commercial rights for ophthalmological pegcetacoplan, including for geographic atrophy (GA).
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company that is committed to leveraging courageous science, creativity, and compassion to deliver life-changing therapies. Leaders in targeted C3 therapies, we aim to develop transformative therapies for a broad range of debilitating diseases that are driven by excessive activation of the complement cascade, including those within hematology, ophthalmology, nephrology, and neurology. For more information, please visit http://apellis.com.
Sobi is a specialized international biopharmaceutical company transforming the lives of people with rare diseases. Sobi is providing sustainable access to innovative therapies in the areas of haematology, immunology and specialty indications. Today, Sobi employs approximately 1,500 people across Europe, North America, Middle East, and Asia. In 2020, Sobi’s revenues amounted to SEK 15.3 billion. Sobi’s share (STO:SOBI) is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. More about Sobi at sobi.com, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Click here to see original Press release.