FDA OKs Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Rare Disease Drug
The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Defitelio (defibrotide sodium) to treat adults and children who develop hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) with additional kidney or lung abnormalities after they receive a stem cell transplant from blood or bone marrow called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This is the first FDA-approved therapy for treatment of severe hepatic VOD, a rare and life-threatening liver condition.
HSCT is a procedure performed in some patients to treat certain blood or bone marrow cancers. Immediately before an HSCT procedure, a patient receives chemotherapy. Hepatic VOD can occur in patients who receive chemotherapy and HSCT. Hepatic VOD is a condition in which some of the veins in the liver become blocked, causing swelling and a decrease in blood flow inside the liver, which may lead to liver damage. In the most severe form of hepatic VOD, the patient may also develop failure of the kidneys and lungs. Fewer than 2 percent of patients develop severe hepatic VOD after HSCT, but as many as 80% of patients who develop severe hepatic VOD do not survive.
The FDA granted the Defitelio application priority review status, which facilitates and expedites the development and review of certain drugs in light of their potential to benefit patients with serious or life-threatening conditions. Defitelio also received orphan drug designation, which provides incentives such as tax credits, user fee waivers and eligibility for exclusivity to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.