Developing the First Recombinant Factor XIII for Congenital Factor XIII Deficiency: Clinical Challenges and Successes

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Congenital factor XIII (FXIII) deficiency is a rare, autosomal recessive bleeding disorder with potentially life-threatening consequences. FXIII is composed of two subunits (A and B), and a deficiency or dysfunction of either can result in FXIII deficiency. Traditionally, FXIII deficiency has been managed by infusing plasma-derived products containing FXIII (fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate, and plasma-derived FXIII concentrates), all of which contain both subunits. Despite the increased safety of plasma-derived products, concern remains regarding potential viral safety issues. This review describes the development, from concept to clinical use, of a recombinant FXIII molecule (containing subunit A only; rFXIII-A2) for congenital FXIII-A subunit deficiency. Unmet needs and ongoing challenges in congenital FXIII deficiency are also discussed. Despite the challenges in developing a product for a very rare bleeding disorder, the information gathered on efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of FXIII replacement therapy represents the largest dataset on congenital FXIII-A subunit deficiency in the world. It also provides evidence for the safety and efficacy of monthly prophylaxis with 35 IU/kg of rFXIII-A2 in patients with FXIII-A subunit deficiency. The issues encountered and overcome, along with lessons learned, may be applied to and encourage the development of new recombinant products for other rare bleeding disorders.

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