Wed, 09/18/2013 – 9:50am
Sanofi and its subsidiary Genzyme announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Lemtrada. This follows the Aug. 30 approval of Aubagio. The company intends to begin launching both products in the EU soon.
Alemtuzumab (marketed as Campath, MabCampath or Campath-1H and currently under further development as Lemtrada) is a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and T-cell lymphoma. It is also used in some conditioning regimens for bone marrow transplantation, kidney transplantation and Islet cell transplantation.
Alemtuzumab binds to CD52, a protein present on the surface of mature lymphocytes, but not on the stem cells from which these lymphocytes are derived. After treatment with alemtuzumab, these CD52-bearing lymphocytes are targeted for destruction.
Alemtuzumab is used as second-line therapy for CLL. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for CLL patients who have been treated with alkylating agents and who have failed fludarabine therapy. It has been approved by Health Canadafor the same indication, and additionally for CLL patients who have not had any previous therapies.
It is also used under clinical trial protocols for treatment of some autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which it shows promise. Alemtuzumab was withdrawn from the markets in the US and Europe in 2012 to prepare for a higher-priced relaunch aimed at multiple sclerosis.
A complication of therapy with alemtuzumab is that it significantly increases the risk for opportunistic infections, in particular, reactivation of cytomegalovirus.