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FDA approves Novartis’ Ilaris for rare childhood arthritis

BY Alaric DeArment

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a biotech drug made by Novartis for treating a form of arthritis that affects children, the Swiss drug maker said Friday.

Novartis announced the approval of Ilaris (canakinumab) for active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients ages 2 years and older. The company said the drug was the first once-per-month drug for injection under the skin to be approved for SJIA. The disease is a rare and disabling form of arthritis characterized by spiking fever, rash and arthritis that can affect children as young as 2 years and continue into adulthood, according to studies. The drug is also approved for treating rare, lifelong and debilitating genetic disorders known as cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes.

"In the United States, this approval marks the second Ilaris indication for patients living with rare, autoinflammatory conditions," Novartis Pharmaceuticals global head of development Timothy Wright said.

 

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Denovo Biomarkers, ALS-ETF to explore personalized medicine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — A biotech company and a nonprofit organization are looking into new ways to treat patients with the devastating degenerative disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The ALS Emergency Treatment Fund and Denovo Biomarkers announced Friday a deal to explore the use of personalized medicine in treating patients with the disease, known medically as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The two said the approach could accelerate drug development in ALS and other life-threatening disorders.

"This exciting relationship with Denovo Biomarkers may accelerate the development of drugs for ALS and may help us provide useful information for patients and physicians," ALS-ETF managing director Jess Rabourn said.

 

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AllerMates launches online community

BY Michael Johnsen

NANUET, N.Y. — AllerMates on Thursday launched an online community at AllerMates.com for parents and healthcare professionals to exchange experiences, seek advice, post recipes, get breaking news and alerts, make friends, share photos and videos, use the “ask the doctor platform” and create a strong support network of allies among others dealing with allergies and asthma. 

“The creation of an AllerMates online community was a natural extension of the benefits that AllerMates have brought to families with food allergies and other health ailments,” stated AllerMates CEO Iris Shamus. “Linking up with other kids and their families dealing with the ever-present challenges of allergies and asthma, especially during May’s Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, gives people an important resource and lets them know they are not alone."

Among the many free features and resources on the site are a physician and professional directory, restaurant cards, action plans, downloadable schools signs and children’s activities.

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