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Home » New drugs canada » Health Canada approval-aHUS Canada applauds approval of Soliris® (eculizumab) first treatment for fatal, ultra-rare disease affecting children and adults

Health Canada approval-aHUS Canada applauds approval of Soliris® (eculizumab) first treatment for fatal, ultra-rare disease affecting children and adults



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CAS number   219685-50-4

Soliris is a formulation of eculizumab which is a recombinant humanized monoclonal IgG2/4;κ antibody produced by murine myeloma cell culture and purified by standard bioprocess technology. Eculizumab contains human constant regions from human IgG2 sequences and human IgG4 sequences and murine complementarity-determining regions grafted onto the human framework light- and heavy-chain variable regions. Eculizumab is composed of two 448 amino acid heavy chains and two 214 amino acid light chains and has a molecular weight of approximately 148 kDa.

TORONTO, March 7, 2013

Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS) Canada is thrilled by Health Canada’s recent approval of Soliris® (eculizumab) for the treatment of patients with atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS), 1 a very rare, chronic and life-threatening genetic condition affecting fewer than 60 patients in Canada.

aHUS leaves a part of the immune system (known as the complement system) uncontrolled and always active. As a result, the immune system attacks the body’s unhealthy and healthy cells which can cause blood vessel damage, abnormal blood clotting 2,3 and progressive damage to the body’s major organs, leading to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death.4

The management of aHUS has relied on plasma infusion and plasma exchange therapies with variable results.5 These lifelong therapies are costly, painful and time-consuming, and have not been studied or approved for the treatment of aHUS.6 If kidney failure has already occurred as a result of aHUS, dialysis is required, though it is not a curative treatment.7 Within a year of diagnosis, over half of patients will need dialysis, will have irreversible kidney damage, or will not survive.6 The majority of patients progress to end-stage kidney failure within three years of diagnosis.8,9

With the approval of Soliris, aHUS patients and their families finally have a reason for hope.

Sonia DeBortoli knows all too well the destructive force of the disease. Sonia’s 11-year-old son Joshua was diagnosed with aHUS in March 2012 and experienced kidney failure, internal bleeding and a blood clot in his groin as a result. He endured several painful hours of daily dialysis and plasma therapy, and was on prednisone and oxygen. Then, a chance to join a clinical trial for Soliris restored Joshua’s health so that he no longer needed the other therapies.

“Our whole world changed when Joshua was given Soliris – we now believe he has a long and healthy future. He is back at school, taking karate lessons and playing soccer,” Sonia says. “We got our little boy back, he got his life back, and we want the same for anyone who has to deal with this rare and devastating disease.”

A groundbreaking treatment advance for aHUS patients

Soliris (eculizumab) is the first and only pharmaceutical treatment for aHUS, and is being hailed by experts worldwide as a critical breakthrough in treating the disease. It has been shown to significantly improve patients’ health and quality of life.10 In clinical trials, Soliris has been proven effective in preventing blood vessel damage and abnormal blood clotting,11,12 leading to remission and significant improvement in kidney function.5,4 Soliris has also allowed patients to discontinue dialysis and plasma exchange therapies.10

Soliris is also indicated, and proven safe and effective, for the treatment of another rare and life-threatening disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).13 Canadians living with PNH already have access to Soliris through private health insurance and provincial drug plans.

Immediate and sustained access to treatment urgently needed

Now that this new treatment option has been approved for the small number of Canadians living with the devastating symptoms of aHUS, Soliris must be made immediately accessible to all aHUS patients whose lives depend on this treatment.

“We are so hopeful that the Common Drug Review will recognize the urgent need for access to Soliris, and that provincial governments will act swiftly to provide reimbursement to patients who are in urgent need of this life-saving treatment,” says Tracy MacIntyre, a founder of aHUS Canada whose daughter is living with aHUS. “Immediate access to the drug would have a profoundly positive impact on the few Canadians living with aHUS, while any delay in funding treatment could lead to devastating consequences.”

About aHUS Canada

aHUS Canada was formed in November 2012 to support Canadian patients and families living with aHUS. In addition to establishing a Canadian aHUS community, the group is committed to building public awareness and understanding of aHUS and advocating for the best possible care and treatment for patients. For more information, please visit


Eculizumab (INN and USAN; trade name Soliris®) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that is a first-in-class terminal complement inhibitor and the first therapy approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare, progressive, and sometimes life-threatening disease characterized by excessive destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis).[1] It costs £400,000 ($US 600,000) per year per patient.[1]

Eculizumab also is the first agent approved for the treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), an ultra-rare genetic disease that causes abnormal blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body, leading to kidney failure, damage to other vital organs and premature death.[2][3]

In clinical trials in patients with PNH, eculizumab was associated with reductions in chronic hemolysis, thromboembolic events, and transfusion requirements, as well as improvements in PNH symptoms, quality of life, and survival.[1][4][5][6] Clinical trials in patients with aHUS demonstrated inhibition of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA),[7] the formation of blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body,[1][3][4] including normalization of platelets and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), as well as maintenance or improvement in renal function.[7]

Eculizumab was discovered and developed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals and is manufactured by Alexion. It was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 16, 2007 for the treatment of PNH, and on September 23, 2011 for the treatment of aHUS. It was approved by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of PNH on June 20, 2007, and on November 24, 2011 for the treatment of aHUS. Eculizumab is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for other severe, ultra-rare disorders

  1. Hillmen, Young, Schubert, P, N, J, et al (2006). “The complement inhibitor eculizumab in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria”. N Engl J Med 355 (12): 1233–1243. doi:10.1056/NEJMMoa061648. PMID 16990386.
  2. Noris, Caprioli, Bresin, M, J, E, et al. (2010). “Relative role of genetic complement abnormalities in sporadic and familial aHUS and their impact on clinical phenotype”. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 5: 1844–1859.
  3. Caprioli, Noris, Brioschi, J, M, S, et al (2006). “Genetics of HUS: the impact of MPC, CFH, and IF mutations on clinical presentation, response to treatment, and outcome”. Blood 108: 1267–1279.
  4.  Hillman, Hall, Marsh, P, C, JC, et al (2004). “Effect of eculizumab on hemolysis and transfusion requirements in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria”. N Eng J Med 350: 552–559.
  5.  Ray, Burrows, Ginsberg, Burrows, JG, RF, JS, EA (2000). “Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and the risk of venous thrombosis: review and recommendations for management of the pregnant and nonpregnant patient”. Haemostasis 30: 103–107.
  6.  Kelly, Hill, Arnold, RJ, A, LM, et al (2011). “Long-term treatment with eculizumab in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria: sustained efficacy and improved survival”. Blood 117: 6786–6792.
  7. .Soliris® (eculizumab) prescribing information (2011). Cheshire, CT: Alexion Pharmaceuticals.


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DR ANTHONY MELVIN CRASTO, Born in Mumbai in 1964 and graduated from Mumbai University, Completed his Ph.D from ICT, 1991,Matunga, Mumbai, India, in Organic Chemistry, The thesis topic was Synthesis of Novel Pyrethroid Analogues, Currently he is working with AFRICURE PHARMA, ROW2TECH, NIPER-G, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Govt. of India as ADVISOR, earlier assignment was with GLENMARK LIFE SCIENCES LTD, as CONSUlTANT, Retired from GLENMARK in Jan2022 Research Centre as Principal Scientist, Process Research (bulk actives) at Mahape, Navi Mumbai, India. Total Industry exp 32 plus yrs, Prior to joining Glenmark, he has worked with major multinationals like Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Sanofi, Searle India Ltd, now RPG lifesciences, etc. He has worked with notable scientists like Dr K Nagarajan, Dr Ralph Stapel, Prof S Seshadri, etc, He did custom synthesis for major multinationals in his career like BASF, Novartis, Sanofi, etc., He has worked in Discovery, Natural products, Bulk drugs, Generics, Intermediates, Fine chemicals, Neutraceuticals, GMP, Scaleups, etc, he is now helping millions, has 9 million plus hits on Google on all Organic chemistry websites. His friends call him Open superstar worlddrugtracker. His New Drug Approvals, Green Chemistry International, All about drugs, Eurekamoments, Organic spectroscopy international, etc in organic chemistry are some most read blogs He has hands on experience in initiation and developing novel routes for drug molecules and implementation them on commercial scale over a 32 PLUS year tenure till date Feb 2023, Around 35 plus products in his career. He has good knowledge of IPM, GMP, Regulatory aspects, he has several International patents published worldwide . He has good proficiency in Technology transfer, Spectroscopy, Stereochemistry, Synthesis, Polymorphism etc., He suffered a paralytic stroke/ Acute Transverse mylitis in Dec 2007 and is 90 %Paralysed, He is bound to a wheelchair, this seems to have injected feul in him to help chemists all around the world, he is more active than before and is pushing boundaries, He has 100 million plus hits on Google, 2.5 lakh plus connections on all networking sites, 100 Lakh plus views on dozen plus blogs, 227 countries, 7 continents, He makes himself available to all, contact him on +91 9323115463, email, Twitter, @amcrasto , He lives and will die for his family, 90% paralysis cannot kill his soul., Notably he has 38 lakh plus views on New Drug Approvals Blog in 227 countries...... , He appreciates the help he gets from one and all, Friends, Family, Glenmark, Readers, Wellwishers, Doctors, Drug authorities, His Contacts, Physiotherapist, etc He has total of 32 International and Indian awards

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