Human Genome Sciences Inc., a Rockville biotechnology firm, said yesterday that it has received clearance to begin human testing of a drug to treat an arterial disease that afflicts thousands of Americans every year.
Human Genome said the Food and Drug Administration has granted permission to begin clinical studies of its Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-2, known as VEGF-2.
The drug will be tested in patients suffering from critical limb ischemia, a disease that causes severe pain, skin lesions and reduced blood flow in the arms and legs.
It is estimated that up to 15 percent of all Americans over age 50 suffer from limb-artery disease, and that each year as many as 150,000 Americans require foot or leg amputations as a result of ischemic disease.
VEGF-2 is the third Human Genome drug to reach the human-testing phase.
"As far as we know, these are the only three drugs that anyone's put into the clinic from genomic drug-discovery efforts," said Human Genome spokeswoman Kate de Santis.
Shares in Human Genome gained $1 yesterday to close at $33.75 on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Pub Date: 12/24/98