Tocilizumab and pegfilgrastim
12 April 2013
PHARMAC is seeking feedback on a proposal to list pegfilgrastim (Neulastim) for prevention of neutropenia in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy, and tocilizumab (Actemra) for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, from 1 July 2013, through a provisional agreement with Roche Products (NZ) Limited.
PHARMAC welcomes feedback on this proposal. To provide feedback, please submit it in writing by 5:00 pm on Monday 29 April 2013 to:
Senior Therapeutic Group Manager
Fax: 04 460 4995
Post: PO Box 10 254, Wellington 6143.
All feedback received before the closing date will be considered by PHARMAC’s Board (or Chief Executive acting under delegated authority) prior to making a decision on this proposal.
Tocilizumab (INN, or atlizumab, developed by Hoffmann–La Roche and Chugai and sold under the trade names Actemra and RoActemra) is an immunosuppressive drug, mainly for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a severe form of RA in children. It is a humanized monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R). Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a cytokine that plays an important role in immune response and is implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer.
Pegfilgrastim is a PEGylated form of the recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) analog filgrastim. It serves to stimulate the level of white blood cells (neutrophils).
Amgen manufactures pegfilgrastim under the brand name Neulasta Which was mainly worked on by Martine Allard, and Roche under the name Neulastim. In India it is also marketed by Abbott Healthcare under the brand name Imupeg. The drug is prepared by coupling a 20 kDa polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecule to the N-terminus of the filgrastim protein. Pegfilgrastim has a human half-life of 15 to 80 hours, much longer than the parent filgrastim (3–4 hours).
Pegfilgrastim treatment can be used to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy.