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Baxter Developing New Hemophilia B Therapies

Baxter International Inc. announced in January 2008, that it is developing two new therapies for hemophilia B patients. One will treat acute bleeding episodes and the other will be used to prevent bleeding (prophylaxis). Baxter has already begun pre-clinical programs to develop the drugs. The acute bleeding therapy will involve the use of unmodified recombinant factor IX (rFIX) proteins.

The prophylactic rFIX product will contain a chemically modified, long-acting version of rFIX through the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers. Nektar Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Carlos, CA, is providing the PEG technology. Protein molecules that are attached with PEG (“pegylated”) prolong the time a drug circulates in the blood stream. For hemophilia patients, pegylated therapies will maintain the clotting factor levels in the blood longer, resulting in extended protection from bleeding.

Baxter and Nektar are also collaborating on the development of PEGylated recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII) therapies for hemophilia A patients. Baxter currently manufactures ADVATE®, a rFVIII  product for the prevention and control of bleeding episodes, and for the management of bleeding related to surgery in hemophilia A patients.

“Extending our recombinant portfolio beyond ADVATE, which is indicated for the treatment of hemophilia A, to target hemophilia B is a natural progression of our leadership in hemophilia and in providing innovative therapies for rare blood disorders,” said Hartmut J. Ehrlich, MD, vice president of global research and development for Baxter’s BioScience business.

Source: Baxter news release dated January 7, 2008