On November 20, 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved emapalumab (Gamifant) for the treatment of pediatric (newborn and above) and adult patients with primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) who have refractory, recurrent or progressive disease or intolerance with conventional HLH therapy. Developed by NovImmune SA, emapalumab is a human IgG1 antibody that targets interferon gamma. Emapalumab has received a variety of designations intended to facilitate the development of drugs for rare, serious or life-threatening diseases, including Breakthrough Therapy, Rare Pediatric Disease, and Orphan Drug designations in the US, and Priority Medicines and Orphan Drug designations in the EU. The FDA’s approval was based in part on a clinical study of 27 pediatric patients with suspected or confirmed primary HLH with either refractory, recurrent or progressive disease during conventional HLH therapy or who were intolerant of conventional HLH therapy. Results from this study showed that 63% of patients experienced a response and 70% were able to proceed to stem cell transplant. A marketing application for emapalumab is undergoing evaluation by the European Medicines Agency.
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