NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: NPSP), a global biopharmaceutical company pioneering and delivering therapies that transform the lives of patients with rare diseases, today announced that the European Commission has granted orphan drug designation to Natpara® (recombinant human parathyroid hormone (rhPTH[1-84]) for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. Natpara is a bioengineered replacement for endogenous parathyroid hormone (PTH) that NPS has developed for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism, a rare endocrine disorder in which the body produces insufficient levels of parathyroid hormone, a principal regulatory of the body’s mineral homeostasis. Orphan drug designation in the European Union (EU) is given to products that are designed for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of rare diseases that are life-threatening or chronically debilitating. A disease is defined as rare in the EU if it affects no more than five in 10,000 people. “We are very pleased that Natpara has received orphan drug status in the EU,” said Francois Nader, MD, president and chief executive officer of NPS Pharmaceuticals. “As a global rare disease biopharmaceutical company, this aligns with our commitment to deliver innovative therapies that transform the lives of patients around the world. Hypoparathyroidism patients face a significant burden of disease given the multitude of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms associated with this disorder. Natpara could be the first PTH replacement therapy to treat this condition.” The company was also granted orphan drug status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007. The company submitted its U.S. Biologic License Application to FDA in October 2013. About Hypoparathyroidism PTH plays a central role in a variety of critical physiological functions, including closely modulating serum calcium and phosphate, regulating renal excretion of calcium and phosphate, activating vitamin D, and maintaining normal bone turnover. In patients with hypoparathyroidism, insufficient levels of PTH lead to low serum calcium, high serum phosphate, increased urinary calcium excretion, and decreased urinary phosphorus excretion. PTH deficiency can also disrupt skeletal homeostasis, leading to bone abnormalities. In addition, patients with insufficient levels of PTH are unable to convert native vitamin D into its active state to properly absorb dietary calcium.
Acute symptoms of hypoparathyroidism are largely due to hypocalcemia and include fatigue, muscle spasms and cramps, tingling, tetany, seizures, brain fog/mental lethargy, anxiety, and depression. In the absence of an approved parathyroid replacement therapy, the standard approach focuses on using high doses of calcium and active vitamin D to increase calcium levels in the blood and reduce the severity of hypocalcemic symptoms. However, balancing the administration of supplements is challenging due to calcium fluctuations and the long-term use of high doses of calcium and vitamin D may lead to serious complications, including long-term renal damage. In addition, because serum phosphate levels are elevated when PTH is missing, increasing serum calcium may lead to irreversible calcium-phosphate deposits in the kidneys, arteries or brain. Further, supplements do not correct the abnormal bone metabolism due to PTH deficiency or enable the activation of vitamin D.About NPS Pharmaceuticals NPS Pharmaceuticals is a global biopharmaceutical company pioneering and delivering therapies that transform the lives of patients with rare diseases worldwide. The company’s lead product, Gattex® (teduglutide [rDNA origin]) for injection is approved in the US for adult patients with Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) who are dependent on parenteral support. In the EU, teduglutide (trade name: Revestive®) is approved for the treatment of adult patients with SBS; patients should be stable following a period of intestinal adaptation after surgery. Teduglutide is not approved for the treatment of pediatric SBS patients. The safety and efficacy of teduglutide in this population is currently being evaluated in a global registration trial. NPS has also developed Natpara® (rhPTH [1-84]) for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism and submitted a Biologics License Application to the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2013. NPS’ earlier stage pipeline includes NPSP795, a calcilytic compound with potential application in rare disorders involving increased calcium sensing receptor activity, such as autosomal dominant hypocalcemia (ADH). NPS complements its proprietary programs with a royalty-based portfolio of products and product candidates that includes agreements with Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Kyowa Hakko Kirin. Additional information about NPS is available through its corporate website, http://www.npsp.com. “NPS,” “NPS Pharmaceuticals,” “Gattex,” “Revestive,” and “Natpara” are the company's trademarks.
Disclosure noticeStatements made in this press release, which are not historical in nature, constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on the company's current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the company’s future financial performance and plans for the commercialization of its products. Risks associated to the company's business include, but are not limited to, the risks associated with any failure by the company to successfully commercialize Gattex (teduglutide [rDNA origin]) for injection, including the risk that physicians and patients may not see the advantages of Gattex and may therefore be reluctant to utilize the product, the risk that private and public payers may be reluctant to cover or provide reimbursement for Gattex, risks related to regulatory approvals for Natpara (recombinant human parathyroid hormone 1-84 (rhPTH [1-84]), the risks associated with the company's strategy, global macroeconomic conditions, the impact of changes in management or staff levels, the effect of legislation effecting healthcare reform in the United States, as well as other risk factors described in the company's periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and Form 10-Qs. All information in this press release is as of the date of this release and NPS undertakes no duty to update this information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.