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FDA NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2009

Media Inquiries:
Karen Riley, 301-796-4674
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA


FDA Approves RiaSTAP for Treatment of Bleeding in Patients with Rare Genetic Defect

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today licensed RiaSTAP, an orphan drug for the treatment of bleeding in patients with a rare genetic defect known as congenital fibrinogen deficiency. Without treatment, these patients are at risk of potentially life-threatening bleeding.

People with congenital fibrinogen deficiency are unable to make sufficient amounts of fibrinogen, which plays an important role in blood coagulation by helping to form blood clots and prevent bleeding. Fibrinogen is manufactured in the liver and circulates in the blood plasma in a normal concentration of 250-400 mg/dL.

"This product offers much-needed treatment for the small number of patients with congenital fibrinogen deficiency," said Jesse Goodman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "If bleeding occurs in the brain or other organs and is left untreated, it may lead to blood loss, organ damage and death.”

Fibrinogen deficiency affects only 150 to 300 people in the United States and is usually diagnosed at birth when newborns bleed from their umbilical cord site. Children with the defect need to curtail activities because of risk of bleeding from minor trauma.

RiaSTAP is an intravenous fibrinogen concentrate made from the plasma of healthy human blood donors. The product is indicated for patients who have no fibrinogen or low levels of the substance, an abnormality known as afibrinogenemia, or for those patients whose fibrinogen levels are below 50 mg/dL, an abnormality known as hypofibrinogenemia. The product is not indicated for patients with dysfibrinogenemia, who may have normal fibrinogen levels but defective fibrinogen function. Patients such as these are at risk for both bleeding and clotting complications.

The licensing of RiaSTAP was supported by a study of 15 patients with afibrinogenemia who achieved the target level of fibrinogen expected to prevent bleeding after they received 70 mg/kg of the drug. In addition, plasma from 14 of the 15 patients showed increased maximum clot firmness, a surrogate marker likely to predict clinical benefit. Fever and headache were the most common adverse reactions.

Clinical benefit will be further verified in a postmarketing study which will include both afibrinogenemic and hypofibrinogenemic patients.

Orphan drugs are drugs or biologics intended for use in a rare disease or condition. Manufacturers are qualified to receive certain government benefits in exchange for developing such products. RiaSTAP [Fibrinogen Concentrate (Human)] was developed under the FDA's accelerated approval regulations.

The drug is manufactured by CSL Behring, Marburg, Germany.

 

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