- The Government of the province of Saskatchewan has informed treating physicians that it will grant access to SPINRAZA™ to patients living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
- Saskatchewan is the second province after the province of Quebec to grant broad access for SMA patients to this life-changing medicine
MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 22, 2019 /CNW/ - Biogen Canada welcomes the decision made by the Government of Saskatchewan allowing patients living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to access SPINRAZA™(nusinersen), the first and only approved medicine in the world to treat the root cause of SMA.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has made the decision to expand coverage and make SPINRAZA™ available to include the following, in addition to existing Type I patients:
- Patients who are pre-symptomatic with two or three copies of the SMN2 gene;
- Patients up to age 18, with symptom onset after six months of age and who have never achieved the ability to walk independently;
- Patients that may have achieved the ability to walk independently (type III) as well as type II and type III patients over the age of 18 are encouraged to talk to their treating physician to apply for a case by case coverage.
"We are delighted to learn that Canadian patients living with SMA in the province of Saskatchewan will gain access to the only medicine that can treat SMA. This decision which patients have been waiting for over two years provides access to SPINRAZA™ to SMA patients for a broad range of patient types and ages. This news will bring new hope for SMA patients and we look forward to hearing from the other Canadian provinces", declared Ms. Susi Vander Wyk, Executive Director, Cure SMA Canada.
Through Biogen's extensive clinical development program, SPINRAZA™ has shown significant improvements in survival rates and motor function across a broad range of types and ages of SMA patients. Health Canada approved SPINRAZA™ in June 2017. Biogen continues to advance innovation in SMA with new data in adults and infants, which will be presented at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinical and Scientific Conference, taking place last week in the USA.
"Biogen Canada is pleased to hear that Saskatchewan has joined the province of Quebec in granting broad access to SPINRAZA™ to patients living with SMA. This decision is additional proof that authorities in Canada and around the world see the benefits and efficacy profile of SPINRAZA™ for SMA patients, and it demonstrates the importance of finding an ongoing and sustainable solution for this life-long treatment. Biogen Canada continues to pursue its discussions with all other provincial jurisdictions in Canada in order for them to join Quebec and Saskatchewan in granting broad access to SMA patients to the first and only medicine in the world to treat SMA", said Ms. Marina Vasiliou, Vice-president and Managing Director of Biogen Canada.
About Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
SMA is a debilitating neurodegenerative condition and the leading genetic cause of death among infants. Children with the most severe form of SMA rarely live to see their second birthday. SMA is a rare disease and it is estimated that 1 in 10000 live births are affected by it.
SMA is characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem, resulting in severe and progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. Ultimately, individuals with the most severe type of SMA can become paralyzed and have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing.
About SPINRAZA™ (nusinersen)
SPINRAZA™ is the first and only approved medicine for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and is currently available in more than 40 countries. As of December 31, 2018, over 6,600 individuals with SMA are being treated with SPINRAZA™ worldwide, based on patients across the post-marketing setting, Expanded Access Program (EAP) and clinical trial participants.
At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. One of the world's first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp, and today has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis; has introduced the first and only approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy; and is focused on advancing neuroscience research programs in Alzheimer's disease and dementia, multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, movement disorders, neuromuscular disorders, pain, ophthalmology, neuropsychiatry, and acute neurology. Biogen also manufactures and commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics.
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SOURCE Biogen Canada