NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted HUMIRA® (adalimumab) orphan drug designation for the treatment of non-infectious intermediate, posterior, or pan-uveitis, or chronic non-infectious anterior uveitis, a group of rare but serious inflammatory diseases of the eye. AbbVie is investigating the efficacy and safety of HUMIRA for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis, and the clinical program is in Phase III development. HUMIRA is not currently approved to treat any form of uveitis.
Uveitis is a general term that encompasses several inflammatory eye diseases. The associated inflammation causes damage of eye tissue leading to reduced vision and/or vision loss. While the exact cause of uveitis is unknown, this condition can be caused by an infection, autoimmune disease, medication, surgery or trauma to the eye. Symptoms of uveitis may include vision loss, blurred vision, eye pain and redness, as well as sensitivity to light. It is estimated that uveitis accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all cases of total blindness in the U.S.
"Few well characterized treatment options are available for patients suffering from uveitis, and the orphan drug designation recognizes the significant unmet need that exists within this disease," said Scott Brun, M.D., vice president, Pharmaceutical Development, AbbVie. "AbbVie remains committed to the ongoing development of HUMIRA to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases where patients have the potential to benefit."
About Orphan Drug Designation
The Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status to drugs and biologics which are defined as those intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases/disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, or that affect more than 200,000 persons but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug.
The approval of an orphan designation request does not alter the standard regulatory requirements and process for obtaining marketing approval for an investigational use. Sponsors must establish safety and efficacy of a compound in the treatment of a disease through adequate and well-controlled studies.
U.S. Product Information for HUMIRA® (adalimumab)
HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used:
- To reduce the signs and symptoms of:
- Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to bones and joints and may help the ability to perform daily activities.
- Moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children 4 years of age and older. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines.
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to bones and joints and may help the ability to perform daily activities.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults.
- Moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) and to achieve and maintain clinical remission in adults who have not responded well to conventional treatments. HUMIRA is also used to reduce signs and symptoms and achieve clinical remission in these adults who have also lost response to or are unable to tolerate infliximab.
- In adults, to help get moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) under control (induce remission) and keep it under control (sustain remission) when certain other medicines have not worked well enough. It is not known if HUMIRA is effective in people who stopped responding to or could not tolerate anti-TNF medicines.
- To treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis (Ps) in adults who are ready for systemic therapy or phototherapy, and are under the care of a doctor who will decide if other systemic therapies are less appropriate.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
HUMIRA is a TNF blocker medicine that affects the immune system and can lower the ability to fight infections. Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. People should be tested for TB before HUMIRA use and monitored for signs and symptoms of TB during therapy. People at risk of TB may be treated with medicine for TB. Treatment with HUMIRA should not be started in a person with an active infection, unless approved by a doctor.
HUMIRA should be stopped if a person develops a serious infection. People should tell their doctor if they live in or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common, have had TB, hepatitis B, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores.
For people taking TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. Some people have developed a rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This type of cancer often results in death. If using TNF blockers including HUMIRA, the chance of getting two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) may increase. These types are generally not life-threatening if treated.
Other possible serious side effects with HUMIRA include hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus, allergic reactions, nervous system problems, blood problems, certain immune reactions, including a lupus-like syndrome, liver problems, and new or worsening heart failure or psoriasis. The use of HUMIRA with anakinra or abatacept is not recommended. People using HUMIRA should not receive live vaccines.
Common side effects of HUMIRA include injection site reactions (redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising), upper respiratory infections (including sinus infections), headaches, rash, and nausea.
HUMIRA is given by injection under the skin.
The benefits and risks of HUMIRA should be carefully considered before starting therapy.
This is not a complete list of the Important Safety Information for HUMIRA.
For additional important safety information, please click here for the Full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. AbbVie employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.
Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements.
Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, challenges to intellectual property, competition from other products, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, and changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," in AbbVie's 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.
 Pleyer U, Forrester JV. GK, Weinreb RN. Eds.Uological Disorders. In: Krieglstein GK, Weinreb RN,EDS. Essentials in Ophthalmology. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag; 2009
 IUSG Website. What is uveitis? 2007. http://www.iusg.net/page7/What_is_Uveitis.html. Accessed May 15, 2014.