Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KALYDECO TM (ivacaftor), the first medicine to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare, genetic disease. KALYDECO (kuh-LYE-deh-koh) is approved for people with CF ages 6 and older who have at least one copy of the G551D mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator ( CFTR) gene. Approximately 1,200 people in the United States, or 4 percent of those with CF, are believed to have this mutation. KALYDECO was granted approval in approximately three months, making it one of the fastest FDA approvals ever and marking the second approval of a new medicine from Vertex in less than a year. The company has established a financial assistance and patient support program to help get KALYDECO to eligible patients for whom it is prescribed. KALYDECO was discovered as part of a collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
KALYDECO carton, bottle, and pills (Photo: Business Wire)Vertex is ready to support the introduction of KALYDECO and will begin shipping it to pharmacies in the United States this week. The company will host a conference call for investors and media today, January 31, 2012, at 12:15 p.m. ET to provide more information on KALYDECO availability, price and the financial assistance and patient support program. “More than 13 years ago we set out to change the lives of people with cystic fibrosis by developing new medicines that address the underlying cause of this rare and devastating disease,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Vertex’s incoming President and Chief Executive Officer. “KALYDECO represents a major advance in the treatment of cystic fibrosis for people with a specific type of this disease. But our work isn’t done. With the ongoing support of doctors, patients and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, we’re making progress toward our ultimate goal of developing additional medicines to help many more people with cystic fibrosis.”