Sprifermin is in clinical development to investigate its potential as a treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee. It is a truncated recombinant human FGF-18 protein thought to induce chondrocyte proliferation and increased extra-cellular matrix (ECM) production, with the potential of promoting cartilage growth and repair. Sprifermin is currently in Phase II studies.
There are approximately 237 million people worldwide living with symptomatic and activity-limiting OA, the third most rapidly rising condition associated with disability globally. By the end stage of the disease, total knee replacement is often necessary. OA is likely to be the number one cause of total hip and knee replacement in the US. Currently there are no approved drugs for preventing or slowing disease progression.
Atacicept is in clinical development to investigate its potential as a treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is a recombinant fusion protein which targets the cytokines APRIL and BlyS, two members of the tumor necrosis factor family that regulates B-cell maturation, function and survival and autoantibody production associated with certain autoimmune diseases such as SLE. Atacicept has been shown in animal models to affect several stages of B-cell development and may inhibit the survival of cells responsible for making antibodies. It is currently in Phase II studies.
About Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
SLE (often referred to as “lupus“) is a chronic autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues and organs. SLE can result in swollen, painful joints, skin rash, extreme fatigue and kidney damage. Estimates vary widely, but SLE may affect as many as 300,000 patients in the U.S. alone. Women and individuals with African American, Asian, and Hispanic heritage are affected disproportionately by SLE.
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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the „Merck” name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.
About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono is the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada - a leading science and technology company - focused exclusively on specialty care. For more than 40 years, the business has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology as R&D focus areas. Today, the business has more than 1,100 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts.