Eisai, and its subsidiary Morphotek, discovered and have developed an investigational monoclonal antibody amatuximab. This drug “has a high affinity and specificity for mesothelin, a protein which is overexpressed in people with malignant mesothelioma.”
The European Commission has granted this antibody an orphan drug designation (ODD). This designation is for medicines developed for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of rare diseases that are very serious or life threatening. In the European Union (EU) that means a disease that affects fewer than five in 10,000 people throughout the EU.
Nick Nicolaides, president and chief executive officer at Morphotek, commented: “We are extremely pleased that amatuximab has received ODD for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma in Europe. This reinforces our commitment to develop safe and effective treatment options for patients suffering from an extremely invasive but rare disease.”
It will take time to fully realize the effectiveness of this drug, but all new discoveries that can cure or slow the progress of mesothelioma are good news.