NICE has recommended Ultomiris (ravulizumab) for use in the NHS for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) in adult patients with haemolysis with clinical symptoms suggesting high disease activity, or whose disease is clinically stable after having Solris (eculizumab) for at least six months.
Ultomiris has been developed by Alexion Pharma UK and is the first and only long-acting C5 complement inhibitor currently available. It has also been proven to deliver comparable safety and efficacy to eculizumab, with infusions every eight weeks compared to every two weeks.
The NICE recommendation of ravulizumab is based on the assessment of a comprehensive clinical and health economic submission by Alexion, as well as evidence provided by patient advocacy organisations and clinical experts.
Sean Richardson, Alexion General Manager in the UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted at the recommendation from NICE, meaning we will be able to offer ravulizumab as a new treatment option to adult patients with PNH across the UK, helping to improve their overall quality of life.
“We believe ravulizumab will become the new standard of care for patients with PNH by providing immediate and complete C5 inhibition, sustained throughout the eight-week dosing interval.”
PNH is a debilitating ultra-rare blood disorder characterised by complement-mediated destruction of red blood cells (haemolysis), as well as risk of blood clots which can occur throughout the body, and result in organ damage and premature death. It impacts approximately 16 people per million in the United Kingdom with an average age of onset in the early 30s.
PNH often goes unrecognised, with delays in diagnosis ranging from one to more than five years. The prognosis of PNH can be poor in many cases, so a timely and accurate diagnosis – in addition to appropriate treatment – is critical to improving patient outcomes.
Ultomiris works by inhibiting the C5 protein in the terminal complement cascade, a part of the body’s immune system. When activated in an uncontrolled manner, the complement cascade over-responds, leading the body to attack its own healthy cells.
Professor Peter Hillmen, Professor of Experimental Haematology at the University of Leeds and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Haematology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The availability of ravulizumab will have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients with PNH.
“Ravulizumab is as effective as the previous standard of care, eculizumab, with a similar safety profile, but with a longer-acting formulation. Patients with PNH will now only require infusions every eight weeks rather than every two weeks, which will have a major impact on their quality of life.”
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