Ipsen launches new syringe for rare disease blockbuster

Ipsen will be launching a new pre-filled syringe for its blockbuster rare disease drug Somatuline (lanreotide) in the EU.

The new design was based on  several studies, involving patients, their caregivers, nurses and other healthcare professionals that aimed to inform and test enhancements to the existing pre-filled syringe.

The findings from the human factor studies are being shown as a poster presentation at ENETS 2019, taking place in Barcelona this week.

New features included modified ergonomics and handling, a needle shield removal system, an injection process with plunger support and heightened ease of use.

The automatic, built-in safety system, which helps to prevent needle stick injury by locking in place following the administration, has not been changed.

Somatuline is used for the long-term treatment of acromegaly, a rare disease caused by excess growth hormone production as a result of a tumour in the pituitary gland, in patients who cannot be treated with surgery or radiation. Some 69,000 patients worldwide are affected by this disease.

It works by inhibiting the secretion of growth hormone and certain hormones secreted by the digestive system.

The drug also treats patients with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), or symptoms associated with carcinoid syndrome.

The new syringe will first be available to patients in Ireland in April 2019, and Ipsen has said it plans to broaden availability to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during 2019 following necessary regulatory approvals.

“NETs and acromegaly can be associated with a number of uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms, so any innovation that eases the physical challenges of treatment for the patient and their healthcare team is a step forward,” commented Daphne Adelman, clinical nurse specialist from Northwestern University in Chicago and one of the authors of the study.

Somatuline has become a key product for Ipsen – in Q4 2018 sales reached €846.7 million, up 24.4% year-on-year, driven by continuous growth in North America of 38.2% from strong volume growth and market share gains as well as strong double-digit growth in most European countries.

Last month the French firm announced that it would be expanding further into the rare disease space by buying Canadian biotech Clementia Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $1.31 billion.

Clementia’s lead drug is palovarotene, an investigational retinoic acid receptor gamma selective agonist, for treatment of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), multiple osteochondromas (MO) and other diseases.

To read our interview with Ipsen CEO David Meek click here.

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