The Eli Lilly and Company, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, has announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has granted enzastaurin, an anti-cancer drug the status of an orphan drug.
(Orphan drug status gives the drug's manufacturer a seven-year right to exclusively market the compound. This protection of unpatentable orphan drugs encourages their development by greatly increasing their profitability.)
Enzastaurin, being developed by the Eli Lilly, is described as an investigational and multi-targeted oral cancer agent. It is particularly useful in a type of cancer called, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This type of cancer affects such regions as brain, bone-marrow and stomach.
Enrolment into a phase III clinical trial of enzastaurin is underway. Specifically, enzastaurin is being investigated as a maintenance therapy to prevent disease relapse.
Earlier the Lilly executives had said that the new drug could be useful in the treatment of recurring glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.
Glioblastoma is part of the larger group of tumors that impact the central nervous system, known as gliomas. Patients with highly recurrent glioblastoma are usually at a more advanced stage of the disease. They may face altered brain function or death due to the tumor's rapid growth rate. At the moment there are very few adequate treatments for this disease.
Enzastaurin is the first targeted agent of Lilly Oncology to enter into late stage clinical development.It heralds a new phase of innovation for the group,it is stated.