Savient Pharma Receives Bad News Concerning KRYSTEXXA

This was on PR Newswire for Savient Pharma. Tough news for their Gout Treatment. Expect a huge downfall in stock price this week. In addition to Savient, there are other competitors out there with approvals so this is really bad news for Savient. However, I say wait for it to drop and buy it up on its low point. This lowpoint will probably will be reached sometime this week.

Uloric, from Takeda Pharmaceutical, was approved in February. Expect a huge swing in Takeda Pharma this week with this unexpected news. Previously, an advisory committee approved the drug, Krystexxa, so this is a shock for Savient as it was advised on a 14-1 vote. This just goes to show how volatile and risky Biotech stocks can be. Now this can be turned around, but it will take some tweaking in the lab and further involvement with Contract Manufacturing of the medication. Again tough news for Savient Pharma.

Also, another treatment for Gout was approved just last week. The company is Mutual Pharmaceutical out of Philadelphia, PA. FDA approved Colchicine for Acute Gout on July 30,2009. Double Whammy time for Savient. But I expect them to bounce back but we will have to see.

I'm including the PR newswire article at the end of this post.

Savient Pharmaceuticals Receives Complete Response Letter from U.S. Food and Drug Administration for KRYSTEXXA(TM)

Savient to Host Conference Call on Monday, August 3, 2009 at 8:00am

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: SVNT) today announced that the Company has received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that the FDA can not at this time approve the Company's Biologics License Application (BLA) for KRYSTEXXA(TM) (pegloticase) as a treatment for chronic gout in patients refractory to conventional therapy.

The complete response letter from the FDA cites deficiencies with the chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) section of the BLA and also provided the current draft of the proposed labeling and further guidance regarding a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) (Medication Guide and Communication Plan). The Company intends to immediately request a meeting with the FDA to discuss and clarify the issues raised in the complete response letter. Under FDA regulations, the Company believes that this meeting is deemed a "Type A" meeting, meaning that the FDA would meet with the Company within 30 days of its receipt of the meeting request.

One of the issues raised by the FDA in the complete response letter addresses a change made by the Company in the proposed process for manufacturing KRYSTEXXA for commercial use. The FDA has concluded that the comparability data submitted for the material manufactured using the proposed commercial manufacturing process was not adequate to demonstrate that it was representative of the material used to establish the safety and efficacy of KRYSTEXXA in its Phase 3 clinical trials. The FDA stated that the Company has the option of either reverting to and validating the manufacturing process used to produce KRYSTEXXA for the Phase 3 clinical trials or conducting additional comparability clinical trials to support the use of KRYSTEXXA manufactured using the proposed commercial manufacturing process. The Company currently expects that it will seek to address this issue by reverting to and revalidating the manufacturing process used to produce KRYSTEXXA for the Phase 3 clinical trials.

The complete response letter also stated that the FDA has determined that a REMS is necessary for KRYSTEXXA consisting of:

A Medication Guide to ensure the safe and effective use of KRYSTEXXA by patients,
A Communication Plan directed to healthcare providers likely to prescribe KRYSTEXXA to support the dissemination of information about the risks of severe infusion reactions and possible anaphylaxis, the risk of severe adverse reactions in administering KRYSTEXXA to patients with glucose-6-phopshate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and major cardiovascular events, and
An Assessment Plan to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the Medication Guide and Communication Plan in communicating to patients and physicians an understanding of the risks of KRYSTEXXA treatment.

The complete response letter included additional CMC comments focused on tightening manufacturing parameters and narrowing analytical specifications associated with commercial production. The Company was also informed that its resubmission to the FDA in response to the complete response letter must include an update of safety data from all on-going studies. Additionally, the Company's drug substance manufacturer BTG-Israel has already provided a work plan to remediate observations arising from the FDA pre-approval inspection of BTG-Israel's manufacturing facility and a satisfactory inspection report is required prior to the approval of KRYSTEXXA.

"While our timeline for resubmission to the FDA is subject to a number of uncertainties, we currently believe that we can target completion of our resubmission for early 2010. We hope to have more clarity on the expected timeline after we meet with the FDA to discuss the complete response letter," stated Paul Hamelin, President of Savient Pharmaceuticals. "While we believe we have made substantial progress toward the potential final approval of KRYSTEXXA, we also have more work to do with the FDA to resolve these open issues. We are committed to work diligently to address these issues with a goal of obtaining final approval for KRYSTEXXA so we can provide this therapy to those chronic gout patients who are suffering from this crippling, debilitating disease and have no other treatment options."

The Company believes that its resubmission will respond to all of the deficiencies cited in the compete response letter and would lead to a new Prescription Drug User Fee Act expected action date of either two or six months after the date of the Company's resubmission, depending on the FDA's classification of the resubmission.


KRYSTEXXA(TM) (pegloticase) is a PEGylated uricase enzyme intended for the treatment of chronic gout in patients refractory to conventional therapy. Gout refractory to conventional therapy occurs in patients who have failed to normalize serum uric acid and whose signs and symptoms are inadequately controlled with xanthine oxidase inhibitors at the maximum medically appropriate dose or for whom these drugs are contraindicated.


Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing pharmaceutical products that target unmet medical needs in both niche and broader specialty markets. Savient has developed one product: KRYSTEXXA(TM) (pegloticase) which is a PEGylated uricase enzyme intended for the treatment of chronic gout in patients refractory to conventional therapy. Savient has exclusively licensed worldwide rights to the technology related to KRYSTEXXA, formerly referred to as Puricase(R), from Duke University and Mountain View Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Savient also manufactures and supplies Oxandrin(R) (oxandrolone tablets, USP) CIII in the U.S. Further information on Savient can be accessed by visiting: http://www.savient.com. Puricase is a registered trademark of Mountain View Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The previous advisory panel recommendation was found in the New York Times on June 16, 2009. The link to that article can be found at the end of this post.

The approval for Colchicine is found on the FDA's website. I've included it here.

FDA Approves Colchicine for Acute Gout, Mediterranean Fever
Agency also provides new information to physicians regarding safe use of drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Colcrys to treat acute flairs in patients with gout, a recurrent and painful form of arthritis, and patients with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), an inherited inflammatory disorder. The medication’s active ingredient is colchicine, a complex compound derived from the dried seeds of a plant known as the autumn crocus or meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale).

Colchicine has been used by healthcare practitioners for many years to treat gout but had not been approved by the FDA. The FDA has an initiative underway to bring unapproved, marketed products like colchicine under its regulatory framework. This initiative promotes the goal of assuring that all marketed drugs meet modern standards for safety, effectiveness, quality and labeling.

Physicians historically have given colchicine hourly for acute gout flares until the flare subsided or they had to stop treatment because the patient began experiencing gastrointestinal problems. A dosing study required as part of FDA approval demonstrated that one dose initially and a single additional dose after one hour was just as effective as continued hourly dosing for acute gout flares, but much less toxic. As a result, the drug is being approved for acute gout flares with the lower recommended dosing regimen.

The FDA is alerting healthcare professionals to this new dosing regimen and also warning about the potential for severe drug interactions when patients take colchicine.

The medicinal value of using colchicum was first identified in the first century A.D. and its use for treating acute gout dates back to 1810. Physicians have prescribed the medication since then. Although single-ingredient colchicine has not been approved by the FDA until now, a combination product containing colchicine and an agent that increased the excretion of uric acid in the urine was approved by the FDA in 1939.

FMF is the most common of the hereditary periodic fever syndromes and is characterized by recurrent episodes of fever, arthritis and painful inflammation of the lining layers of the lungs and abdomen. Though rare in the United States, it is more common in Mediterranean countries. Physicians have prescribed colchicine for FMF for many years based on studies showing that it reduced the frequency of attacks but use of colchicine for FMF had never been approved. With this approval, Colcrys becomes the first drug approved to treat FMF.

Colcrys is manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., Philadelphia.

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