FDA Clears New Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Pompe Disease

Megan Brooks


August 06, 2021

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new enzyme replacement therapy, avalglucosidase alfa (Nexviazyme, Genzyme), for patients aged 1 year and older with late-onset Pompe disease.

Pompe disease is a rare genetic disease that occurs in an estimated 1 in 40,000 births. It's caused by a genetic deficiency or dysfunction of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA), which leads to a buildup of glycogen in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells, causing muscle weakness and premature death from respiratory failure or heart failure.

Nexviazyme, administered by intravenous infusion every 2 weeks, supplements GAA and helps reduce glycogen accumulation.

The approval of this product "brings patients with Pompe disease another enzyme replacement therapy option for this rare disease," Janet Maynard, MD, deputy director, Office of Rare Diseases, Pediatrics, Urologic and Reproductive Medicine, in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.

In 2010, the FDA approved alglucosidase alfa (Lumizyme) for the treatment of late-onset Pompe disease.

"The FDA will continue to work with stakeholders to advance the development of additional new, effective and safe therapies for rare diseases, including Pompe disease," said Maynard.

The approval is based on positive phase 3 data that demonstrated improvements in key disease burden measures, including respiratory function and walking disease, and that established the drug's safety profile, Genzyme said in a news release.

The most common side effects were headache, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, dizziness, myalgia, pruritus, vomiting, dyspnea, erythema, paresthesia, and urticaria.

Serious reactions included hypersensitivity reactions, such as anaphylaxis, and infusion-associated reactions, including respiratory distress, chills, and pyrexia.

Patients susceptible to fluid volume overload or those with compromised cardiac or respiratory function may be at risk for serious acute cardiorespiratory failure.

The FDA granted Nexviazyme orphan drug designation, priority review, and breakthrough status.

Genzyme expects the new therapy to be available in the United States in the coming weeks and said it will be priced on par with Lumizyme.

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