PRESS RELEASE: New child sized Tamiflu capsules receive European approval

New child sized Tamiflu capsules receive European approval

Smaller strength capsules provide convenient alternative for management of seasonal and pandemic influenza in children

Roche announced today that the European Commission has approved smaller child sized Tamiflu (oseltamivir) capsules of 30 mg and 45 mg doses. Until now, Tamiflu was available in capsules containing a 75 mg dose of oseltamivir and as a powder for oral suspension for use in children.

The new lower dose capsules provide a convenient alternative for the treatment and prevention of influenza types A and B in children one year and older. Furthermore, since the smaller capsules have a longer shelf life than the suspension formulation (five years vs. two years), they also offer an improved option for government pandemic stockpiling.

The lower dose Tamiflu capsules were approvedl by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July.

New Child Sized Capsules Will Aid Pandemic Preparedness
As well as being used to manage seasonal influenza, the 30 mg and 45 mg capsules will be an important component in government pandemic preparedness. They provide:

  • A better option for stockpiling for paediatric use, given the longer shelf life compared to paediatric suspension.
  • Easier and more convenient dosing by parents.

About Tamiflu
Tamiflu, an oral neuraminidase inhibitor, is designed to be active against all clinically relevant influenza viruses. It works by blocking the action of the neuraminidase enzyme on the surface of the virus. When neuraminidase is inhibited, the virus is not able to spread to and infect other cells in the body. Tamiflu is the only member of the neuraminidase class of drugs approved for use in treatment and prevention of influenza in children 1 to 5 years of age.

Flu's Impact on Children
Influenza is particularly dangerous for the most vulnerable and this includes young children and infants .Children younger than two years old are as likely as those over age 65 to be hospitalized because of influenza. It is estimated that children are three times more likely to get sick with the flu – on average, one in 10 adults is affected by influenza annually, compared with one in three children. There is a high need for influenza treatments for children as they are more severely affected by seasonal influenza compared to adults.

About Tamiflu (oseltamivir)
Tamiflu delivers:

  • 38 percent reduction in the severity of symptoms
  • 67 percent reduction in secondary complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and sinusitis in otherwise healthy individuals
  • 37 percent reduction in the duration of influenza illness
  • Tamiflu was shown to provide up to 89 percent overall protective efficacy against clinical influenza in adults and adolescents who had been in close contact with influenza-infected patients

In children, Tamiflu delivers:

  • 36 percent reduction in the severity and duration of influenza symptoms
  • 44 percent reduced incidence of associated otitis media as compared to standard care

Roche’s efforts to support government pandemic stockpiling
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that stockpiling antivirals in advance is presently the only way to ensure that sufficient supplies are available in the event of a pandemic. Roche has been working closely with WHO and national governments to ensure governments are aware of the importance of stockpiling antivirals in the event of a pandemic situation. Roche has received and fulfilled pandemic orders for Tamiflu totalling 215million treatments from more than 80 countries worldwide. The magnitude of these orders varies with some countries, France, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and UK stockpiling or intending to stockpile adequate Tamiflu to cover 20-40% of their population. Few governments to date have stockpiled paediatric antiviral formulations. Roche has also donated 5.125 million courses of Tamiflu treatment to the WHO for international rapid response and regional response to a pandemic influenza strain.

In addition the WHO has recently updated their guidance on the clinical management of human infection with H5N1 virus with Tamiflu as the only antiviral strongly recommended for treatment of H5N1 infected patients.  

Roche and Gilead
Tamiflu was invented by Gilead Sciences and licensed to Roche in 1996. Roche and Gilead partnered on clinical development, with Roche leading efforts to produce, register and bring the product to the markets. Under the terms of the companies’ agreement, amended in November 2005, Gilead participates with Roche in the consideration of sub-licenses for the pandemic supply of oseltamivir. To ensure broader access to Tamiflu for all patients in need, Gilead has agreed to waive its right to full royalty payments for product sold under these sub-licenses.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world’s biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people’s health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in virology and active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammation, metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2006 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invests approximately 7 billion Swiss francs a year in R&D. Worldwide, the Group employs about 75,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.roche.com.

Suggested Articles

Pliant Therapeutics will use the proceeds to push its lead program through midstage trials in fibrotic liver and lung diseases.

Cancer biotech Novellus has struck a deal with Plexxikon for its early- to midstage BRAF-inhibiting hopeful PLX8394.

Chinook Therapeutics is set to merge with fallen Big Pharma darling Aduro Biotech to create a kidney disease player with $180 million in cash.