VIMPAT® (lacosamide) for Treatment of Epileptic Seizures
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that affects over 20 million people worldwide including 2 million in the United States. No single drug controls all types of epileptic seizures, and different drugs are required for different patients. Many current antiepileptic drugs have undesirable side effects and physicians must monitor patients closely for signs of toxicity.
In the late 1990s, RCT partnered with Harris FRC Corporation (Holmdel, N.J.) to develop lacosamide (formerly named harkosaride), one of a novel set of compounds for epilepsy. After successfully treating refractory epilepsy patients in early clinical trials, lacosamide was subsequently licensed to Schwarz Pharma AG (Monheim am Rhein, Germany) for further development and commercialization. Schwarz completed two worldwide Phase III clinical trials testing lacosamide in 700 epilepsy patients before UCB (Brussels, Belgium) acquired the company in 2007. UCB used the successful results from the Phase III trials to file for regulatory approval of lacosamide in the U.S. and other major countries in 2008. In 2009, lacosamide was approved in the U.S. and Europe under the name VIMPAT® as an adjunctive therapy for treating partial onset seizures in adult epileptic patients. The labeling for VIMPAT® was then expanded in the US during 2014 to include its use as monotherapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures in patients with epilepsy aged 17 years and older.
Since VIMPAT®’s launch in oral and intravenous formulations, it has grown to become one of the most widely used drugs to treat epileptic seizures in more than 50 countries. UCB projects that worldwide sales of VIMPAT® will reach $1.5 billion by 2020 and will be used to treat more than 300,000 patients annually.
Harold Kohn, Ph.D.* at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.
*Dr. Kohn is currently the Kenan Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and chair, division of medicinal chemistry and natural products, School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.