Recombinant human C1 esterase inhibitor (rhC1INH) (Ruconest(), Pharming) is a new drug developed for the relief of symptoms occurring in patients with angioedema due to C1-inhibitor deficiency. Pertinent results have already been published elsewhere; this article summarizes the progress made since then. Similar to the purified C1-inhibitor derived from human plasma, the therapeutic efficacy of rhC1INH results from its ability to block the actions of enzymes belonging to the overactivated bradykinin-forming pathway, at multiple locations. During clinical trials into the management of acute edema, a total of 190 subjects received recombinant C1-inhibitor by intravenous infusion on 714 occasions altogether. Dose-ranging efficacy studies established 50 U/kg as the recommended dose, and demonstrated the effectiveness of this agent in all localizations of hereditary angioedema attacks. Studies into the safety of rhC1INH based on 300 administrations to healthy subjects or hereditary angioedema patients followed-up for 90 days have not detected the formation of autoantibodies against rhC1INH or IgE antibodies directed against rabbit proteins, even after repeated administration on multiple occasions. These findings met favorable appraisal by the EMA, which granted European marketing authorization for rhC1INH. Pharming is expected to file a biological licence with the US FDA by the end of 2010 to obtain marketing approval in the USA. The launch of rhC1INH onto the pharmaceutical market may represent an important progress in the management of hereditary angioedema patients.
Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1586/eci.11.5