Federal regulators have granted orphan drug status to
medication treating dermatomyositis, a severe inflammatory muscle disorder. The condition, which afflicts twice as many women as men, is marked by weakened muscles and rashes. Orphan status gives Alexion seven years to work on the drug free of market competition, and the drug maker will get some tax breaks, too. Alexion received the orphan status for the drug, long-windedly known as "humanized monoclonal antibody C5 Compliment Inhibitor 5G1.1," because its target population, dermatomyositis sufferers, is less than 200,000.