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Rhizen drug secures approval in the USA


The United States Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval for the drug Umbralisib. Basel biotech Rhizen has discovered this inhibitor for the treatment of cancer.

Swaroop Vakkalanka, President and CEO of Rhizen Pharmaceuticals (img: Rhizen)

Rhizen Pharmaceuticals has discovered Umbralisib, a medication that has now been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with certain types of marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) and follicular lymphoma (FL). Rhizen licensed the inhibitor to TG Therapeutics based in the USA, which also did its total clinical development. The Basel biotech has retained commercialization rights for India as well as being the manufacturing and supply partner for Umbralisib, as was reported in a press release.

Umbralisib is an oral, once daily, inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3 kinase delta and casein kinase 1 epsilon. “Umbralisib’s approval offers MZL and FL patients a new treatment option and is a huge validation of Rhizen’s drug discovery & development capabilities,“ said Swaroop Vakkalanka, President & CEO of Rhizen Pharmaceuticals, in the press release.

Rhizen relocated from La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel to Basel in December 2020, with support from Basel Area Business & Innovation, the investment and innovation promotion agency. At the new main location in Basel, the clinical development and commercialization of the novel oncology and inflammation medicines are to be promoted. In particular, Rhizen wants to benefit from the proximity to the Basel Area life sciences cluster. It furthermore plans to grow and create local jobs, so the highly qualified talent offered by Basel was another key factor.

“Basel with its vibrant biotech and pharma ecosystem offers the best opportunity for Rhizen to expand and focus on clinical development of its rich pipeline of investigational drugs,” explained Vakkalanka.

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