Genentech withdrew its psoriasis drug Raptiva from the market yesterday, citing the risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare, often fatal brain infection. The drug will be phased out by June 8 of this year, according to a statement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The decision comes after Genentech reported a fourth case of PML diagnosed in a 47 year old man in Germany in February, and a subsequent warning by the FDA. Three other people taking Raptiva have developed PML, two of whom died. Raptiva is an antibody therapy that reduces psoriasis flare-ups by suppressing T-cells. Sales of the drug were $108 million in 2008, and about 2,000 people are currently taking it, according to a statement by Genentech. The withdrawal won't hurt Genentech's bottom line much, said Simos Simeonidis, a senior biotechnology analyst and director at Rodman & Renshaw, LLC. "It was not...
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!