BURLINGTON, ON, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - When diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive, debilitating and ultimately fatal disease of the lungs, patients have had minimal treatment options - until today. Following Health Canada's market approval of Esbriet™ (pirfenidone) ["Esbriet"] on October 1, 2012, InterMune Canada Inc. has announced that the only treatment indicated for mild to moderate IPF in adults is now available in Canada.
"Prior to the availability of Esbriet, we had very little to offer our IPF patients, as there were no effective treatments," said Charles Chan, M.D., IPF researcher and Consultant Respirologist at University Health Network, and Professor and Vice-Chair of Medicine, University of Toronto. "Esbriet really is a game-changer. I am excited to finally have a treatment option with proven benefits for patients who are living with this deadly and life-limiting disease."
Esbriet was approved by Health Canada following a priority review granted due to the seriousness of IPF and the significant medical need for treatment. Esbriet is the only drug approved in Canada with a specific IPF indication. Developed by InterMune Inc., the treatment has been shown to slow disease progression and to decrease the decline in lung function in adult patients with mild to moderate IPF, when compared to placebo. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting) and skin (photosensitivity) relatedi.
"On this pivotal day for IPF patients, we are proud to make Esbriet available in Canada and we now want to ensure it is appropriately accessible," said Daniel Welch, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune. "Patient access to treatment is a priority for InterMune and we are working diligently with public and private payers and reimbursement agencies to make Esbriet accessible to appropriate Canadian patients who may benefit from this new treatment option."
Patient survey reveals impact of unmet medical need
An Investigation into Patient Experiences with IPFii revealed that new, safe and effective treatment options for IPF are needed to address low patient satisfaction levels. According to the survey, IPF patients were dissatisfied with the lack of effective therapy and 36 per cent of patients discontinued their experimental treatment because their doctor indicated the treatment was ineffective.
"Through this survey, Canadians clearly conveyed that the frightening diagnosis of IPF along with its low life expectancy is made considerably more difficult by the lack of treatment options available," said Robert Davidson, President of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF). "With the availability of Esbriet in Canada, we finally have a reason for hope. This is a very good day for IPF patients in Canada and I am optimistic that Canadians living with IPF will be granted swift access to this treatment"
IPF is an interstitial lung disease with no known cause. It is characterized predominantly by fibrosis (scarring) of the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. In patients with IPF, the lung tissue becomes scarred and over time, as the scarring becomes thicker and more widespread, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. The disease is more common in men than women and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 80 years. Studies suggest that 5,000 to 8,000 Canadians suffer from IPF, with an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 having mild to moderate disease. There are an estimated 3,000 deaths each year in Canada associated with the disease.
About InterMune Canada Inc.
InterMune is a biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative therapies in respirology and orphan fibrotic diseases. In respirology, the company is focused on therapies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Pirfenidone is approved for marketing by InterMune in the EU and Canada as Esbriet™, and is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial to support regulatory registration in the United States. InterMune's research programs are focused on the discovery of targeted, small-molecule therapeutics and biomarkers to treat and monitor serious pulmonary and fibrotic diseases. For additional information about InterMune and its R&D pipeline, please visit www.intermune.com.
i Retrieved from: http://www.intermune.ca/pdf/Esbriet_PM_Clean_02OCT2012_English.pdf on October 25, 2012 (Esbriet product monograph)
ii An Investigation into Patient Experiences with IPF; conducted by Doxapharma (2012). Survey of 63 Canadians with IPF about their care and quality of life between March and July 2012
SOURCE InterMune Canada Inc.
Video with caption: "Video: Esbriet (Pirfenidone) - First Treatment for IPF Now Available In Canada.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130117_C6591_VIDEO_EN_22654.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130117_C6591_PHOTO_EN_22654.jpg&clientName=InterMune%20Canada%20Inc%2E&caption=Video%3A%20Esbriet%20%28Pirfenidone%29%20%2D%20First%20Treatment%20for%20IPF%20Now%20Available%20In%20Canada%2E&title=INTERMUNE%20CANADA%20INC%2E%20%2D%20Game%20changing%20therapy%20for%20Idiopathic%20Pulmonary%20Fibrosis%20now%20available%20in%20Canada&headline=Game%20changing%20therapy%20for%20Idiopathic%20Pulmonary%20Fibrosis%20now%20available%20in%20Canada