Canadian government approval of Aristospan (triamcinolone hexacetonide) to treat juvenile arthritis reinforces the global expansion efforts of Germany’s Riemser Pharma, which recently acquired the U.K. distribution rights for Jylamvo (methotrexate).
Jylamvo is used to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, as well as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer affecting white blood cells.
Aristospan was already available in 17 countries including Germany, where it is sold as Lederlon. The medication’s approval in Canada took only one year, and will supply a potential market of about 24,000 arthritis patients under the age of 18. The therapy alleviates symptoms and may even help patients go into temporary remission.
The active ingredient triamcinolone hexacetonide had been marketed in Canada until 2014 under the Lederlon brand name. After the Canadian provider stopped distributing the medication, Canada’s Medexus approached Riemser to establish a partnership to distribute the drug.
After an initial distribution within Canada’s Special Access Program — which provides access to unmarketed drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions — Medexus and Riemser filed for approval in late 2016. Aristospan will now be available to treat juvenile arthritis patients this spring.
In addition, Riemser will distribute Jylamvo in the English and Irish markets. In its liquid form, Jylamvo may be tolerated by patients who cannot take the active ingredient methotrexate as pills or injections. This is particularly useful for treating people with swallowing disorders.
Furthermore, Jylamvo is significantly cheaper than injectable methotrexate.
Aristospan’s approval in Canada and the company’s new U.K. distribution rights for Jylamvo “fit perfectly into our strategy because, on the one hand, they expand our product range in two of our core indication areas —rheumatology and oncology — and, on the other hand, constitute important steps in the further expansion of Riemser’s international operations,” CEO Konstantin von Alvensleben said in a press release.
“Personally, I am especially pleased that both drugs particularly benefit children and adolescents.” he added.
Besides rheumatology, Riemser focuses on a range of other areas including oncology, cardiovascular diseases, dermatology, obesity, neurology and tuberculosis treatment. Except for tuberculosis, Riemser lacks its own production facilities, which gives it more flexibility to distribute smaller batch sizes as well as target markets that are not worthwhile economically for larger pharmaceutical companies.