Press Release: FDA APPROVES FIRST-IN-CLASS EVKEEZA® (EVINACUMAB-DGNB) FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WITH ULTRA-RARE FORM OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., March 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the approval of Evkeeza® (evinacumab-dgnb) as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering therapies to treat children aged 5 to 11 with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). Evkeeza is the first angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) inhibitor treatment indicated for children as young as 5 years old to control dangerously high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) caused by HoFH. Evkeeza was initially approved as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering therapies in those aged 12 years and older with HoFH in February 2021.
“At the Family Heart Foundation, we know that children with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, and those caring for them, often live in fear of what the future holds as they contend with the dangerously high levels of bad cholesterol, or LDL-C, caused by this genetic disorder,” said Mary McGowan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the Family Heart Foundation. “Only 5% of rare diseases actually have an FDA-approved treatment. With this FDA approval, the HoFH community now has a much-needed treatment for young children, potentially making it possible for many to achieve recommended LDL-C levels much earlier in the course of this rare disease. This is a hopeful development for those living with HoFH.”
HoFH is an ultra-rare inherited condition that affects approximately 1,300 people in the U.S. and is the most severe form of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). HoFH occurs when two copies of the FH-causing genes are inherited, one from each parent, resulting in dangerously high levels (usually >400 mg/dL) of LDL-C. Those living with HoFH are at risk for premature atherosclerotic disease and cardiac events even in their teenage years. Many patients are not diagnosed or are only diagnosed later in life.
“Guidelines recommend screening all children at high risk for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia starting at age 2. However, until now, a positive diagnosis was often met with the frustration of having limited treatment options to help these children,” said Carissa M. Baker-Smith, M.D., MPH, Co-Director of Nemours Cardiac Center Cardiovascular Research and Innovation Program, Director of Nemours Cardiac Center Pediatric Preventive Cardiology, pediatric cardiologist, and a trial investigator. “By adding Evkeeza to standard lipid-lowering therapies in this pivotal trial, children were able to reduce their LDL-C, with the vast majority able to achieve declines of nearly 50%. These are clinically meaningful results that physicians should consider when developing a treatment approach for these young patients.”