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Octapharma USA Sponsors International Advisory Board for Evaluating Treatment of Patients with von Willebrand Disease

HOBOKEN, N.J., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Octapharma USA recently hosted an International Physician Advisory Board in New York City, bringing together medical experts from around the world who have extensive experience internationally with taking care of patients with von Willebrand's Disease (VWD). As the most common inherited bleeding disorder in humans, VWD affects one to two percent of the general population or approximately 3 million people in the United States.

Octapharma manufactures wilate®, a therapy introduced to the U.S. market for VWD over the last year that has been available in many other countries for a decade. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Octapharma orphan drug exclusivity for wilate® (von Willebrand Factor/Factor VIII Concentrate, Human), the first replacement therapy developed specifically for VWD.

"Our goal was to promote a scientific dialogue among the medical community in the U.S. and abroad," said Octapharma USA President Flemming Nielsen. "Overall the advisory meeting's clinical platform encouraged significant discussion and debate around the treatment and management of VWD patients and evaluated data and experiences in Europe. There was general agreement among the attendees that improving the care for VWD patients is possible and that more data either from clinical trials or scientific experience would be beneficial."

The meeting was jointly chaired by Jerry S. Powell, M.D., Professor at the University at California-Davis and Director of the UC-Davis Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center; and John Pasi, M.D., Professor of Haemostasis and Thrombosis, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London.

"As physicians, we need to continue to gain experience in treating all clinical concerns of all types of VWD patients in the U.S.," said Dr. Powell. "For years, treatment options in the U.S. have been extremely limited so the opportunity to learn from our European colleagues, who have extensive experience in VWD and the use of wilate®, was quite valuable. Taking advantage of the lessons learned in Europe and determining how the clinical data can lead to improved treatment options will be beneficial to U.S. patients."

Dr. Pasi discussed the significant VWD experience at the Royal London Haemophilia Centre and the organization's decision to utilize wilate® as its primary therapy.

"Wilate® is the first double-virus inactivated VWF/FVIII high-purity concentrate, utilizing the solvent/detergent process and a special terminal dry-heating system," said Dr. Pasi. "We believed wilate® was truly a next generation therapy because it was double-virus inactivated. Our desire to utilize a factor concentrate specifically designed to treat VWD also weighed heavily in the decision as did clinical trial experience."

The Advisory Board Meeting is the latest step in Octapharma's continuing support for educational programs designed to enhance treatment for VWD patients. In the last year, Octapharma has supported educational symposia at the Annual Meeting of the National Hemophilia Foundation and a Continuing Education initiative of the National Home Infusion Association focusing on VWD.

"With several of the world's most respected VWD scientific experts on hand, attendees were able to exchange ideas and experiences that were truly valuable," said Nielsen. "Scientific and clinical advancements and unmet needs in the treatment of VWD patients are paramount challenges. All participants were truly concerned with better controlling patient bleeding episodes and improving the quality of life for VWD patients, underscoring the need for continued scientific research."

About the Octapharma Group

Headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland, Octapharma AG is one of the largest human protein products manufacturers in the world and has been committed to patient care and medical innovation for over 27 years. Octapharma's core business is the development, production and sale of high quality human protein therapies from both human plasma and human cell-lines, including immune globulin intravenous (IGIV). In the U.S., Octapharma's IGIV product, octagam®  (immune globulin intravenous [human] 5%), is used to treat disorders of the immune system, and Octapharma's Albumin (human)® is indicated for the restoration and maintenance of circulating blood volume. Octapharma's wilate® received orphan drug exclusivity from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of von Willebrand disease (VWD). Octapharma employs over 4,000 people and has biopharmaceutical experience in 80 countries worldwide, including the United States, where Octapharma USA is located in Hoboken, N.J.  Octapharma operates two state-of-the-art production sites licensed by the FDA, providing a high level of production flexibility. For more information, please visit

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