Ibrexafungerp is the first drug approved in a new antifungal class for vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in more than 20 years, the drug’s manufacturer Scynexis said in a press release. It becomes the first and only nonazole treatment for vaginal yeast infections.
The biotechnology company said approval came after positive results from two phase 3 studies in which oral ibrexafungerp demonstrated efficacy and tolerability. The most common reactions observed in clinical trials were diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, and vomiting.
There are few other treatments for vaginal yeast infections, which is the second most common cause of vaginitis. Those previously approved agents include several topical azole antifungals and oral fluconazole (Diflucan), which, Scynexis said, is the only other orally administered antifungal approved for the treatment of VVC in the United States and has accounted for over more than 90% of prescriptions written for the condition each year.
However, the company noted, oral fluconazole reports a 55% therapeutic cure rate on its label, which now also includes warnings of potential fetal harm, demonstrating the need for new oral options.
The new drug may not fill that need for pregnant women, however, as the company noted that ibrexafungerp should not be used during pregnancy, and administration during pregnancy “may cause fetal harm based on animal studies.”
Because of possible teratogenic effects, the company advised clinicians to verify pregnancy status in females of reproductive potential before prescribing ibrexafungerp and advises effective contraception during treatment.
VVC can come with substantial morbidity, including genital pain, itching and burning, reduced sexual pleasure, and psychological distress.
David Angulo, MD, chief medical officer for Scynexis, said in a statement the tablets brings new benefits.
Dr. Angulo said the drug “has a differentiated fungicidal mechanism of action that kills a broad range of Candida species, including azole-resistant strains. We are working on completing our CANDLE study investigating ibrexafungerp for the prevention of recurrent VVC and expect we will be submitting a supplemental NDA [new drug application] in the first half of 2022.”
Scynexis said it partnered with Amplity Health, a Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company, to support U.S. marketing of the drug. The commercial launch will follow the approval.
Ibrexafungerp was granted approval through both the FDA’s Qualified Infectious Disease Product and Fast Track designations. It is expected to be marketed exclusively in the United States for 10 years.
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