-Approximately 8,500 people with cystic fibrosis in the U.S. have two copies of the F508del mutation and are ages 12 and older-
"Today's positive recommendation brings the cystic fibrosis community
one step closer to potential approval of the first medicine to treat the
underlying cause of this disease for many more people," said Jeffrey
Chodakewitz, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at
Vertex. "We look forward to continuing to work with the
Cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disease that is caused by defective or missing CFTR proteins resulting from mutations in the CFTR gene. The defective or missing proteins result in poor flow of salt and water into and out of the cell in a number of organs, including the lungs. In people with two copies of the F508del mutation, the CFTR protein is not processed and trafficked normally within the cell, resulting in little to no CFTR protein at the cell surface.
ORKAMBI is a combination of lumacaftor, which is designed to increase the amount of functional protein at the cell surface by addressing the processing and trafficking defect of the protein, and ivacaftor, which is designed to enhance the function of the CFTR protein once it reaches the cell surface. ORKAMBI is an oral medicine that, if approved, would be taken as fully co-formulated tablets that contain both lumacaftor and ivacaftor.
About Cystic Fibrosis
CF is a rare, life-threatening genetic disease affecting approximately 75,000 people in North America, Europe and Australia. Children must inherit two defective CFTR genes — one from each parent — to have CF. There are more than 1,900 known mutations in the CFTR gene. Some of these mutations, which can be determined by a genetic, or genotyping, test, lead to CF by creating non-working or too few CFTR proteins at the cell surface. The defective or missing CFTR protein results in poor flow of salt and water into and out of the cell in a number of organs, including the lungs. This leads to the buildup of abnormally thick, sticky mucus that can cause chronic lung infections and progressive lung damage, eventually leading to death.
Today, the median predicted age of survival for a person with CF is between 34 and 47 years, but the median age of death remains in the mid-20s.
Collaborative History with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT)
Vertex initiated its CF research program in 1998 as part of a collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT), the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This collaboration was expanded to support the accelerated discovery and development of Vertex's CFTR modulators.
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that aims to discover, develop and commercialize innovative medicines so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. In addition to our clinical development programs focused on cystic fibrosis, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs aimed at other serious and life-threatening diseases.
Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex today has research and
development sites and commercial offices in the United
States, Europe, Canada and
Special Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without
limitation, statements regarding the potential approval of ORKAMBI as a
treatment for patients with CF twelve years or older who have two copies
of the F508del mutation in their CFTR gene. While Vertex believes
the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are
accurate, there are a number of factors that could cause actual events
or results to differ materially from those indicated by such
forward-looking statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, among
other things, that regulatory authorities may not approve, or approve on
a timely basis, ORKAMBI for patients with CF twelve years or older who
have two copies of the F508del mutation in their CFTR gene due to
safety, efficacy or other reasons, and other risks listed under Risk
Factors in Vertex's annual report and quarterly reports filed with the
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