Swedish biotech Calliditas is going all-in when it comes to firsts: After getting the first drug specifically approved for immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy last year, it’s now running the first educational campaign for the disease amid the first-ever IgAN Awareness Day.
May 14 marked the inaugural IgAN Awareness Day, which is run by the IgA Nephropathy Foundation. It was set up to “bring our community together to celebrate one another and raise more awareness for early diagnosis and treatment,” the foundation said in a statement.
To dovetail with the awareness, Calliditas launched its educational campaign about this rare chronic autoimmune kidney disease. The online platform is called IgAN Connect and provides resources for those who have been more recently diagnosed with IgA nephropathy as well as patients who have been living with the disease for many years and their caregivers including tools to help understand and manage IgA nephropathy.
There’s also a complimentary IgAN Connect Facebook page, which is for individuals living with the disease to “explore educational and motivational resources alongside other members of the community,” Calliditas said in a statement.
The site has stories from patients and encourages people to talk to their doctors if they have symptoms.
In December last year, the Swedish biotech got an FDA approval for a targeted-release budesonide formulation, Tarpeyo, in adults with primary IgA nephropathy at risk of rapid disease progression.
IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, occurs when IgA (a type of antibody) deposits build up in the kidneys, causing inflammation that damages kidney tissues.
There are no branded mentions of Tarpeyo in the new campaign, and Calliditas talks generally about treatments and their mechanisms of action but does not talk directly about its drug.
This is a standard educational/awareness campaign setup—especially for a relatively unknown and rare condition—that looks to boost understanding and thus diagnosis and treatment.
Until last year, there were no FDA-approved therapies available specifically for IgA nephropathy, leaving patients and doctors with few options beyond hypertension control and steroids.
But this all changed in 2021 when Calliditas nabbed its Tarpeyo approval, and now the dominoes are falling as more drugs spring up on the horizon. Just this week, Travere Therapeutics said its experimental drug sparsentan got a priority review for IgA nephropathy.
And there are a whole bunch of options in the pipeline, including Visterra and Otsuka’s VIS649, Chinook’s atrasentan, Omeros’ narsoplimab and Novartis’ iptacopan.