FDA approves first drug for specific form of Batten disease

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FDA approves first drug for specific form of Batten disease

By Brian Berk - 04/27/2017

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Brineura (cerliponase alfa) as a treatment for a specific form of Batten disease. BioMarin Pharmaceuticals’ Brineura is the first FDA-approved treatment to slow loss of walking ability (ambulation) in symptomatic pediatric patients 3 years of age and older with late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2), also known as tripeptidyl peptidase-1 (TPP1) deficiency.


“The FDA is committed to approving new and innovative therapies for patients with rare diseases, particularly where there are no approved treatment options,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Approving the first drug for the treatment of this form of Batten disease is an important advance for patients suffering with this condition.”


CLN2 disease is one of a group of disorders known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, collectively referred to as Batten disease. CLN2 disease is a rare inherited disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. In the late infantile form of the disease, signs and symptoms typically begin between ages 2 and 4. The initial symptoms usually include language delay, recurrent seizures (epilepsy) and difficulty coordinating movements (ataxia). Affected children also develop muscle twitches (myoclonus) and vision loss. CLN2 disease affects essential motor skills, such as sitting and walking. Individuals with this condition often require the use of a wheelchair by late childhood and typically do not survive past their teens. Batten disease is relatively rare, occurring in an estimated two to four of every 100,000 live births in the United States.


The efficacy of Brineura was established in a non-randomized, single-arm dose escalation clinical study in 22 symptomatic pediatric patients with CLN2 disease and compared to 42 untreated patients with CLN2 disease from a natural history cohort (an independent historical control group) who were at least 3 years old and had motor or language symptoms. Taking into account age, baseline walking ability and genotype, Brineura-treated patients demonstrated fewer declines in walking ability compared to untreated patients in the natural history cohort.


The safety of Brineura was evaluated in 24 patients with CLN2 disease aged 3 to 8 years who received at least one dose of Brineura in clinical studies. The safety and effectiveness of Brineura have not been established in patients less than 3 years of age. 


The most common adverse reactions in patients treated with Brineura include fever, ECG abnormalities including slow heart rate (bradycardia), hypersensitivity, decrease or increase in CSF protein, vomiting, seizures, hematoma (abnormal collection of blood outside of a blood vessel), headache, irritability, increased CSF white blood cell count (pleocytosis), device-related infection, feeling jittery and low blood pressure.