Biogen (BIIB), Sage Therapeutics (SAGE) announce FDA acceptance of NDA for zuranolone to treat MDD and PPD

February 6, 2023 6:51 AM EST

Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) and Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SAGE) announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the filing of a New Drug Application (NDA) for zuranolone in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and postpartum depression (PPD). Zuranolone is an investigational drug being evaluated as a 14-day, rapid-acting, once-daily, oral treatment in adults with MDD and PPD. The application has been granted priority review and the FDA has assigned a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date of August 5, 2023.

“We see potential for zuranolone, if approved, to be a meaningful new option that can help address the serious unmet need faced by the diverse populations struggling with MDD and PPD,” said Priya Singhal, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President, Head of Development and Interim Head of Research and Global Safety and Regulatory Sciences at Biogen. “The FDA filing acceptance and granting of priority review are important milestones in the mission Biogen and our collaboration partner Sage share to advance the understanding and treatment of depression.”

Depression is one of the leading contributors to disability worldwide.1 It is estimated that more than 21 million adults in the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2020, with nearly 14 million people diagnosed with major depressive disorder,2 and an estimated 500,000 cases of PPD annually.3 Symptoms of MDD and PPD have been shown to have an impact on a person’s overall quality of life, functioning and well-being. In 2018, the incremental economic burden of MDD was an estimated $326 billion in the U.S. alone.4

The zuranolone NDA includes data from the LANDSCAPE and NEST clinical development programs as well as a Phase 2 study of zuranolone completed by Shionogi in Japan in adults with MDD. The LANDSCAPE program includes five studies of zuranolone in adults with MDD (MDD-201B, MOUNTAIN, SHORELINE, WATERFALL, and CORAL). The NEST program includes two studies of zuranolone in adult women with PPD (ROBIN and SKYLARK).

“We feel a tremendous responsibility to patients with MDD and PPD to deliver a potential new treatment option, which is so desperately needed. Most current approved therapies may take weeks or months to work. We are committed to advancing treatments that could help physicians and patients by addressing depression symptoms quickly,” said Laura Gault, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Sage. “We believe zuranolone, if approved, could offer a new way for physicians to support patients.”

Zuranolone, a neuroactive steroid, has a novel mechanism of action as a positive allosteric modulator of GABA-A receptors. In people with depression, it is thought to work by rapidly rebalancing dysregulated neuronal networks to help reset brain function. Zuranolone targets brain networks responsible for functions such as mood, arousal, behavior, and cognition.

Priority Review is granted by the FDA to applications for medicines that, if approved, would provide significant improvements in the effectiveness or safety of the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of serious conditions.

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