Sanofi-Aventis Korea said Wednesday it would enter the local asthma drug market in earnest by launching Dupixent (ingredient: dupilumab).
|Professor Kim Sang-hun of the Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Hanyang University Hospital explains how Dupixent can help patients with severe asthma, during an online media event by Sanofi on Wednesday.|
Asthma is a disease affecting more than 390 million people worldwide, with an average of more than 1,000 patients dying due to the disease per day. The current therapy method for treating asthma focuses on controlling and managing symptoms rather than cure. However, despite steady treatment, more than half of patients have poor control over their symptoms.
In Korea, hospitals prescribe multiple treatment regimens for patients who have frequent and critical symptoms, such as dyspnea, and systemic corticosteroids to those that fail the initial multiple treatment regimens. However, the use of systemic corticosteroids can lead to patients becoming dependent on such steroid treatments, which, in turn, can increase the incidences of complications and fatalities.
Therefore, there have been high unmet medical needs for a drug that can replace the current treatment. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have recently been trying to provide a new treatment option for asthma treatment by introducing biological agents, such as Sanofi's Dupixent.
To this end, Sanofi has recently obtained an extended indication for the drug in Korea as a medication for severe asthma that is not adequately controlled from existing treatment and additional maintenance treatment for type 2 inflammatory asthma.
Professor Kim Sang-hun of the Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Hanyang University Hospital explained the clinical value of the drug in treating asthma, during an online media seminar held by Sanofi on Wednesday.
"Dupixent showed asthma improvement in many ways through three major studies," Kim said. "As a result, the drug reduced the annual number of severe exacerbations. A group administered by 200mg and 300mg Dupixent reduced severe exacerbations by about 70 percent compared to the placebo group."
Also, the drug quickly improved lung function two weeks after the first dose and continued to increase the function while the patients maintained treatment with increased type 2 inflammatory biomarkers, Kim added.
He noted that the treatment result of reducing or discontinuing the dose of oral corticosteroids in patients was also noteworthy.
"Systemic corticosteroid is the most prescribed regimen in patients with severe asthma as it accounts for 84.1 percent of the prescriptions," he said. "However, more than half of oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma patients discontinued the steroids after taking Dupixent for 24 weeks, and overall consumption also fell by 70 percent."
The drug improves the quality of life for patients as the drug showed an effective response in the patient's asthma control indicators.
Kim stressed that the launch of biological agents in treating asthma is very encouraging as it can significantly help patients frustrated by the lack of effective treatments in the field.
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