FDA Approves Use of Benlysta for Children and Teens with Lupus

GSK announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved, under priority review, the use of the intravenous (IV) formulation of Benlysta (belimumab), a B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS)-specific inhibitor, in children with lupus from as young as five years of age.

Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President, R&D, GSK commented, “Children with lupus have had limited options available to help treat their condition. This accelerated decision means children in the US now have an innovative, FDA-approved medicine available to help manage the impact of living with this challenging autoimmune disease.”

Stevan W Gibson, President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America commented, “Lupus is a potential life-threatening disease that can be more aggressive and severe in children than it is in adults. For the first time, children with lupus will now have a lupus-specific treatment option for their disease. As a research community we all share in the excitement of this historic milestone as it underscores our dedication to bringing new treatments to people living with lupus.”

Kenneth M Farber, President and CEO, Lupus Research Alliance, commented, “The go-ahead from the FDA for belimumab to be used to treat children with lupus is terrific news for a community desperate for more treatment options. As the only biologic approved for the disease, belimumab has been helping many adults with lupus, and now physicians will have another, much-needed tool for treating their pediatric patients.”

The approval extends the current indication in the US for the IV formulation of Benlysta in adults, to patients aged 5 years and older with active, autoantibody-positive, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who are receiving standard therapy.

Benlysta was approved in the US in March 2011 for adults, and is currently the only medicine specifically approved in the US for both adults and children with SLE. The IV formulation of Benlysta is currently not approved for use in children anywhere else in the world although regulatory submissions are ongoing in other parts of the world.

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