Givosiran as subcutaneous injection is in clinical development for the treatment of acute hepatic porphyria (AHP). AHP is a rare genetic condition in which patients lack certain enzymes needed to produce haem, a component of the blood pigment haemoglobin. As a result, substances for making haem accumulate in the body (particularly in the liver) and become toxic, causing attacks of severe abdominal pain, vomiting and nervous system disorders, such as seizures (fits), depression and anxiety. Some patients may also experience skin problems, with skin becoming oversensitive to light. AHP is life-threatening due to the possibility of paralysis and respiratory arrest during attacks and debilitating in the long term because of symptoms such as pain, nausea, seizures and skin blistering.
Givosiran is made of a short, synthetic strand of genetic material called ‘small interfering RNA’ (siRNA) that has been designed to interfere with the production of an enzyme involved in an early step in making haem. By blocking this early step of haem production in patients with AHP, givosiran is expected to prevent the next steps which produce substances that accumulate in the body and cause the symptoms of the disease.
Ravulizumab works by inhibiting a component in the complement system called C5. It is given intravenously and has the potential to increase patient’s quality of life and to decrease treatment burden due to its extended effect that enables every 8-week dosing. If licensed, ravulizumab will offer an additional first-line treatment option for adults and children with aHUS.