Healthcare Industry News:  intestinal gel 

Biopharmaceuticals FDA Neurology

 News Release - February 18, 2008

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Receives Fast Track Designation From U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Levodopa/Carbidopa Intestinal Gel for Advanced Parkinson's Disease

MARIETTA, Ga.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to the development program for levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel for the potential long-term treatment of motor fluctuations associated with advanced Parkinson's disease.

Fast track is a process designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs that treat serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. Once a drug receives Fast Track designation, early and frequent communication between the FDA and a drug company is encouraged throughout the entire drug development and review process. The frequency of communication assures that questions and issues are resolved quickly, often leading to earlier drug approval and access by patients. In addition, most drugs that are eligible for Fast Track designation are likely to be considered appropriate to receive a Priority Review. A Priority Review means that the time it takes the FDA to review a new drug application is reduced. The goal for completing a Priority Review is six months.

"We are very pleased that the FDA has granted levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel Fast Track designation and believe that it will be of great assistance in our efforts to expeditiously bring a new treatment option to this important and underserved advanced-stage patient population," said Laurence Downey, M.D., president and CEO, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

In 2000, levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel received Orphan Drug designation from the FDA for the treatment of late-stage Parkinson's disease. Orphan Drug designation provides seven years of marketing exclusivity from the date of a drug’s approval. In addition, user fees are waived and the sponsor is eligible for tax credits for clinical testing.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals is currently investigating levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel in a global Phase III open-label safety study and will enroll patients in pivotal studies in the U.S. and Germany this summer.

For information about clinical trial registration, please visit

About Advanced Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that impairs mobility and control of movement. The disorder is caused by loss of dopamine-containing neurons in the substantia nigra area of the brain. Characteristic features include resting tremor, rigidity, bradykinetic (slow) movements and instability of posture. Levodopa is the standard treatment for the management of motor symptoms and has been shown to improve patient mobility and reduce disability. However, patients in the advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease who have been treated with oral levodopa for several years may develop severe fluctuations in motor control characterized by unpredictable swings between mobility and immobility (“on-off” phenomenon).

About Levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel

For long-term administration, the levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel should be delivered by a portable pump directly into the duodenum through a tube inserted via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) with an outer transabdominal tube and an inner intestinal tube. The pump used in the Phase III clinical studies is the Smiths Medical CADD-Legacy® 1400 ambulatory pump.

Levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel is currently not approved by the FDA. It is registered in the entire European Economic Area (EEA) under the trade name Duodopa™. Marketing authorizations outside the EEA have been granted in Australia, Canada, Croatia and Switzerland. Orphan drug status was obtained in the European Union in 2001 and in Australia in 2006.

About Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., of Marietta, Georgia is the U.S. subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals. For more information, visit

Solvay Pharmaceuticals is a research driven group of companies that constitute the global pharmaceutical business of the Solvay Group. The company seeks to fulfill carefully selected, unmet medical needs in the therapeutic areas of neuroscience, cardio-metabolic, influenza vaccines, gastroenterology, and men’s and women’s health. Its 2007 sales were EUR 2.6 billion and it employs more than 9,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit

SOLVAY is an international chemical and pharmaceutical Group with headquarters in Brussels. It employs more than 28,000 people in 50 countries. In 2007, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 9.6 billion, generated by its three sectors of activity: Chemicals, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. Solvay (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR) is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels. Details are available at

Source: Solvay Pharmaceuticals

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