Curr Opin Investig Drugs 2001 Dec;2(12):1751-6
Tortorella C, Rovaris M, Filippi M.
Neuroimaging Research Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
Cladribine, an adenosine deaminase inhibitor, has been developed and launched by Ortho Biotech in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute for the treatment of several neoplasms, including acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, cutaneos T-cell lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
It was first launched in the US in February 1993.
Ortho Biotech and The Scripps Research Institute have since been developing the compound for its potential use in multiple sclerosis (MS).
In 1997, Ortho filed air NDA in the US for the use of cladribine in the treatment of relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS.
An FDA drug advisory committee was planning to meet in January 1999 to discuss the NDA.
However, Ortho cancelled the meeting.
Following an FDA inspection during December 1998 and January 1999, the Scripps Clinic received a warning letter from the FDA in April 1999 regarding violations in the clinical studies of cladribine for MS, and Ortho withdrew the NDA after concluding that further clinical studies would be necessary.
Cladribine has been known since the 1960s as an intermediate for the synthesis of 2-deoxynucleotides and its potential for the treatment of leukemia was disclosed in 1984.
The Scripps Research Institute and the Johnson & Johnson group hold several patents claiming preparation methods (US 05208327), and additional indications, such as multiple sclerosis (WO-09316706) and rheumatoid arthritis (US-05310732).
The associated patent, WO-09323508, is the only one among those patents that claims the use of unmodified cladribine for the treatment of leukemia, but it focuses particularly on a specific form of the disease, chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Analysts at UBS Warburg predicted in October 2001, that the product would make US sales of $50 million in 2004 for its MS indication