Ons 29 maj / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

Sobi’s latest breakthrough originates from Swedish research

Recent developments at biopharmaceutical company Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum) are most exciting. The company has, within a relatively narrow time-frame, produced not one, but three brand new development programs that are now in the phase III trial stage and is getting ready for market launch after successful approval. This means that Sobi has a whole new platform for building the company’s future, with a clear focus on long-term sustainability and continuous improvements.

Sobi has taken the next step in terms of business line development, but the core ambition remains; to always focus on under-represented areas where there is an eminent need for more development and new pharmaceutical treatments. Sobi currently has five core products and a substantial portfolio of partner products, all of which are a part of the Sobi ambition that entails bringing innovative therapies and services to improve the lives of rare disease patients and their families.

New treatments for Hemophilia A and B
The three new drug development programs are a manifestation of Sobi’s unique know-how and expertise in developing treatments for rare diseases. The programs include two new biopharmaceutical drugs being developed in partnership with US biotech company Biogen Idec for treating Hemophilia A and B. Hemophilia A affects just 50 000 people each year across the world, and the even rarer Hemophilia B affects around 10 000 people. “The area is in fact not new to us. We have been working in this field for about 35 years, creating a strong foundation for today’s successful development of new treatments for both Hemophilia A and B. We are now past the trial stages in adults and we have proven that the programs are meeting their purpose. Biogen Idec has recently filed in the US for both solutions. We hope that the treatments should be available to patients in Europe in 2016”, Sobi CEO Dr. Geoffrey McDonough reveals.
The new treatments may be a significant step forward for the population suffering from Hemophilia. The treatments could reduce the burden of living with the disease and improve quality of life for both patients and their families. Dr. McDonough underlines that much of the work supporting the current practice in Hemophilia has originated from Swedish clinical research over the last 15 years.

A step forward in neonatology
The third program supports our most fragile population, a growing number of very premature infants. Dr. Geoffrey McDonough: “Neonatology is a new area for us here at Sobi. Our program Kiobrina is a solution given by feed to promote faster growth and reduce the time that the infant must remain incubated. The program is most ambitious and aimed at a population in desperate need of more focus. Our study involves 430 infants at 70 research institutions across 10 countries in Europe. We are now at our final step in the Phase III study, after which we hope for European registration”.
Sobi is aiming for a successful launch where Kiobrina will reach the patients by 2015 – 2016. The need is distinguished by the fact that more and more premature infants survive, but their quality of life is not as good as it could be due to complications later in life. If Kiobrina can improve the quality of early development for these children we hope this may translate into long term benefits as well.

Strong commitment
The Swedish government has already communicated an ambition to support the development of treatments focusing on rare diseases. A National Plan for Rare Diseases will be created by the end of 2013.
“This is of course a very welcome development. Sweden is drafting its national plan for rare diseases as we speak. This supports the rare disease field, and makes it more attractive as we seek to attract and train our next generation of experts in the field of rare disease treatment development. Our young colleagues are motivated and interested in working with things that really matter”, Dr. Geoffrey McDonough concludes.