Benlysta slowly making its way to the FDA

Good news from Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR):

Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGSI) announced that it has submitted a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to market BENLYSTA® (belimumab) for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

The BLA submission includes the results of two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials in autoantibody-positive patients with SLE showing that belimumab met its primary endpoint. In the Phase 3 studies, known as BLISS-52 and BLISS-76, belimumab 10 mg/kg plus standard of care achieved a statistically significant improvement in patient response rate as measured by the SLE Responder Index at Week 52, compared with placebo plus standard of care. Study results also showed that belimumab was generally well tolerated in BLISS-52 and BLISS-76, as demonstrated by a similar rate of discontinuations due to adverse events across treatment groups, with overall adverse event rates comparable between belimumab and placebo treatment groups. The design of the two trials was similar, but the duration of therapy in the two studies was different – 52 weeks for BLISS-52 and 76 weeks for BLISS-76. HGS designed the Phase 3 program for belimumab in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and leading international SLE experts, and in consultation with the FDA. The two studies treated a total of 1,684 patients.

BENLYSTA is being developed by HGS and GSK under a co-development and commercialization agreement entered into in 2006. GSK submitted a Marketing Authorization Application for belimumab to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on June 4, 2010.

Click here for a Dow Jones story about this exciting news. The ALR supported some of the important basic and translational research on the molecule targeted by BENLYSTA, BLyS, also called B cell-activating factor (BAFF). We (ALR) are very excited about this milestone, and look forward to bringing you more on BENLYSTA in the months ahead.


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