Rituxan may have rare-disease use

Roche's cancer and immunology drug Rituxan may be a treatment option for the rare disease eosinophilic granulomatosis and polyangiitis (EGPA), which was formerly known as Churg-Strauss syndrome, according to a study published in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism.

The rare disease is a blood vessel inflammation that the advocacy group Vasculitis Foundation said is identified in around two out of every one million people. It typically affects smaller arteries.

Rituxan, which had $7.2 billion in sales last year, including $3.5 billion in the US, is currently indicated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) with glucocorticoids.

EGPA shares traits with GPA and MPA, but the Vasculitis Foundation said the diseases have different clinical characteristics and outcomes.

Roche emailed MM&M it does not plan on evaluating Rituxan for EGPA.

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