Somavert turns twenty: the pegvisomant story

From J D Faccinetti, Co-founder and Chief Editor – When you deal with a chronic pituitary disease, you get close to your medications, just like you would to a friend. This was my experience with pegvisomant (Somavert®). After my surgery in 2010 and after a few false starts with other medications, we settled with pegvisomant. It is probably safe to say that without this drug, life with a residual GH-producing adenoma would have been considerably more complicated. Eight months after surgery, we quickly achieved normal levels of Igf-1.  Somavert has been working flawlessly ever since for me.

Somavert®turned 20 years old this year, so, being that, as I said, medications become close friends, I wanted to acknowledge the people responsible for discovering it, testing it, manufacturing it, and bringing it to patients around the world.

With Dr. AJ van der Lely, Dr. John Kopchick, SEEN Conference, Bilbao, Spain

Pegvisomant was discovered at Ohio University in 1987 by Distinguished Professor John Kopchick, a molecular biologist and graduate student Wen Chen at the EdisonBiotechnology Institute. Pegvisomant is a genetically engineered, recombinant growth hormone receptor antagonist that effectively normalizes serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels in patients with acromegaly and helps symptoms and signs associated with GH excess. As a recent story in Ohio Today by Angela Woodward puts it, “The story behind Somavert® is the story of two trailblazers whose work—as individuals and in partnership—has saved lives, advanced science, and generated prestige and record-breaking drug royalties for Ohio University.”

After completing clinical trials, the FDA approved it in 2003 for treating acromegaly and was brought to market by Pfizer. Learn more about the Somavert® Journey since its approval in this timeline by Pfizer, it will give you another great perspective on its evolution.

Note: Read this book – Acromegaly: a Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, edited by Drs Manish Aghi and Lewis Blevins with contributions by some of the best acromegaly experts around the world.  The book also has a patient perspective describing the journey to diagnosis and treatment and other interesting thoughts.  If you’d like a copy, please send us a note to receive a free copy of the patient chapter.

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