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Late Monday, May 22, the FDA gave approval to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Sanofi’s new biologic RA treatment, sarilumab, under the U.S. brand name Kevzara. It is the latest addition to the Interleukin Inhibitor (IL-Inhibitor) class of drugs that also includes Kineret and Actemra. The medication comes in an auto-injector and is administered every two weeks. The primary focus for this drug are patients that have “failed” on at least one other biologic. It can be used with or without methotrexate. The news release from the company can be read here: http://investor.regeneron.com/releaseDetail.cfm?releaseid=1027419

I am personally thrilled that there is a new option for RA patients, especially those like me who have been on numerous treatment plans that eventually quit working. Like other products, such as computer processors, each new product holds promise of improvement over the ones that came before it.

Actual availability for patients is, of course, dependent upon getting supplies out, educating physicians as well as patients. and navigating the quagmire of insurance and Medicare/Medicaid approvals. This last item is very important because, although I haven’t seen any “official” pricing, news stories peg the price at $39K/year. While expensive, this is actually less costly than some of the established biologics on the market.

So thank you, Regeneron and Sanofi, for the new drug. And thank you for checking in.