On 24 October 2003, orphan designation (EU/3/03/172) was granted by the European Commission to Univar Limited, United Kingdom, for trientine dihydrochloride for the treatment of Wilson’s disease.
- What is Wilson’s disease?
Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder that causes excessive copper accumulation in the liver or brain. The liver of a person who has Wilson's disease does not release copper into the bile, as it should. Bile is a liquid produced by the liver that helps with digestion. In Wilson disease, the copper absorbed from the food by the intestines builds up in the liver and injures liver tissue. Eventually, the damage causes the liver to release the copper directly into the bloodstream, which carries the copper throughout the body. The copper accumulated and transported by the bloodstream can then cause damage in other organs like the kidneys, brain, and eyes. If not treated, Wilson's disease can be chronically debilitating and life threatening.
- What is the estimated number of patients affected by the condition?
At the time of designation, Wilson’s disease affected approximately 0.6 in 10,000 people in the European Union (EU)*. This is equivalent to a total of around 23,000 people, and is below the threshold for orphan designation, which is 5 people in 10,000. This is based on the information provided by the sponsor and the knowledge of the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP).
*Disclaimer: The number of patients affected by the condition is estimated and assessed for the purpose of the designation, for a European Community population of 385,000,000 (Eurostat 2002) and may differ from the true number of patients affected by the condition. This estimate is based on available information and calculations presented by the sponsor at the time of the application.
- What treatments are available?
Treatment of Wilson's disease generally consists of anti-copper agents to remove excess copper from the body and to prevent it from re-accumulating. Several medicinal products were authorised for Wilson’s disease in the Community at the time of submission of the application for orphan drug designation.
Trientine dihydrochloride could be of potential significant benefit for the treatment of Wilson's disease, by making it available over the whole Community. In addition, trientine dihydrochloride may have a different safety profile for the treatment of the condition from that of medicinal products authorised today. This assumption will have to be confirmed at the time of marketing authorisation. This will be necessary to maintain the orphan status.
- How is this medicine expected to work?
Trientine dihydrochloride binds to the free copper in blood and increases copper excretion in the urine. It might also act by blocking intestinal copper absorption, but this possible mechanism remains to be fully demonstrated.
- What is the stage of development of this medicine?
The active substance, trientine dihydrochloride is authorised in the United Kingdom, in Wilson’s patients who are intolerant of penicillamine therapy. The product authorised in the United Kingdom is exported to Germany, France, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland, however supply is restricted to named patients only.
Trientine dihydrochloride has been granted marketing authorisation in the United States for treatment of Wilson’s disease in patients who are intolerant of penicillamine.
According to Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 of 16 December 1999, the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) adopted on 10 September 2003 a positive opinion recommending the grant of the above-mentioned designation.
- Opinions on orphan medicinal product designations are based on the following three criteria:
- the seriousness of the condition;
- the existence of alternative methods of diagnosis, prevention or treatment;
- either the rarity of the condition (affecting not more than 5 in 10,000 people in the European Union) or insufficient returns on investment.
Designated orphan medicinal products are products that are still under investigation and are considered for orphan designation on the basis of potential activity. An orphan designation is not a marketing authorisation. As a consequence, demonstration of quality, safety and efficacy is necessary before a product can be granted a marketing authorisation.
|Name||Language||First published||Last updated|
|EU/3/03/172: Public summary of positive opinion for orphan designation of trientine dihydrochloride for the treatement of Wilson's disease||(English only)||26/04/2004||21/02/2010|
|Active substance||Trientine dihydrochloride|
|Disease/condition||Treatment of Wilson's disease|
|Date of decision||24/10/2003|
|Orphan decision number||EU/3/03/172|
Review of designation
Sponsor’s contact details
Mount Farm Industrial Estate
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Telephone: +44 1908 36 22 00
Telefax: +44 1908 36 22 36
Patient associations’ contact points
Asociación Española de Familiares y Enfermos de Wilson
c/ Juan de Valladolid, 4, 1º D
Telephone: (34-983) 372 150
COMETA A.S.M.M.E. Associazione Studio Malattie Metaboliche Ereditarie ONLUS
Via Vittorio Veneto 12a
35020 Legnaro (PD)
Telephone: +39 049 9903303
Telefax: +39 178 220 3410
Morbus Wilson e.V.
Meraner Str. 17