Helsinn Healthcare SA

HELSINN new antiemetic drug ALOXI® receives marketing authorization in Europe

    Lugano Switzerland (ots) - HELSINN HEALTHCARE SA, a Swiss pharmaceutical group, announced today that the European Commission has granted the marketing authorisation for their new drug ALOXI®. This announcement comes approximately three months after the CHMP's recommendation to approve ALOXI" for the prevention of acute nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, and the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy.

    ALOXI® belongs to the second generation of serotonin subtype 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonists, characterized by a stronger and longer efficacy to prevent nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Several clinical trials showed, in comparison with the first generation 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, a great efficacy of ALOXI® during the acute and delayed phases after chemotherapy treatment. The product is commercialized in USA since September 2003 by Helsinn's partner MGI Pharma, where approximately 1.5 million uses have been completed successfully.

    Recently published data (Grunberg S. et al. Incidence of chemotherapy-induced nausea and emesis after modern antiemetics. Cancer, 100 (10): 2261-8, 2004) showed that cancer patients are still missing an adequate control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) and the medical community is keeping the antiemetic guidelines updated with new improvements which can help the patients cope with this debilitating side effect. A recent example is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN, www.nccn.org), an alliance of 19 of the world's leading cancer centers, which indicated ALOXI® as the treatment of choice for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting due to moderately emetogenic chemotherapy.

    "This news is of great significance for Helsinn", said Dr. Enrico Braglia, Managing Director of HELSINN HEALTHCARE SA. "After having completed the US registration a year and a half ago, we have now successfully completed the Centralized Procedure Registration in Europe for the first time. Helsinn's focus is Cancer and Supportive Care, and our mission is to keep helping cancer patients to better deal with the disease by either bringing new cancer treatments or by offering new therapies to reduce cancer side effects. ALOXI® is in this second group and Helsinn will make sure it is made available in each country of the EU as soon as possible through its local partners and distributors".

    Helsinn recently announced a number of licensing and distribution agreements in most European countries: Cambridge Laboratories for the UK, Ribosepharm for Germany, Italfarmaco for Italy and Spain, Galenica for Greece, CSC for Austria and several Central and Eastern European countries and PharmaSwiss for Slovenia, Baltic States and several other Eastern countries.

    About Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV)

    CINV is estimated to affect 85% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and can result in a delay or discontinuation of chemotherapy treatments. The supportive care area is becoming of paramount importance to help patients deal with adverse events of anticancer therapies. With good supportive care drugs, cancer patients are able to tolerate the anti-cancer treatment to a greater extent, improving their chances of completing their treatment course successfully with a better quality of life.

    About ALOXI®

    Aloxi® is a selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonist with high receptor binding affinity which is at least 30 times higher than that of first-generation 5HT3 receptor antagonists. Aloxi® has an extended plasma half-life of approximately 40 hours. Aloxi® 0.25 mg i.v. is approved for the prevention of acute nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy and for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy.

    In clinical trials, Aloxi® demonstrated prevention of acute CINV and persistence of protection in delayed phase, especially during the period of major risk (days 2 and 3). In these trials, Aloxi® was compared with active comparators, and showed a consistent and favourable difference with respect to ondansetron and dolasetron. Adverse reactions observed in the pivotal trials were similar in frequency, intensity, and duration with Aloxi® as with ondansetron and dolasetron, with most common drug-related adverse reactions being headache (9%) and constipation (5%). For more information about this product please visit our website: www.palonosetron.net and www.aloxi.com.

    About HELSINN HEALTHCARE

    HELSINN HEALTHCARE SA is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with headquarters in Switzerland and is the worldwide licensor of ALOXI®.  HELSINN's core business is the licensing of pharmaceuticals in niche therapeutic areas. The company's business strategy is to in-license early-stage new chemical entities and complete their development from the performance of pre-clinical/clinical studies and CMC development to the attainment of market approvals in strategic markets (U.S. and Europe).  HELSINN's products are eventually out-licensed to its marketing partners for distribution. The active pharmaceutical ingredients and the finished dosage forms are manufactured at HELSINN's cGMP facilities and supplied worldwide to its customers.  For more information about HELSINN, please visit www.helsinn.com.

ots Originaltext: HELSINN HEALTHCARE SA
Internet: www.presseportal.ch

Contact:
Rachid BenHamza, Ph.D.,
Head Business Unit Oncology & Supportive Care
Tel.      +41/91/985'21'21
E-Mail: info-hhc@helsinn.com



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