Octapharma research cooperation further elucidates mechanism of action of octagam


Octapharma remains committed to researching the mechanisms of action of IVIG and its efficacy in various indications with the goal to improve treatment in immune mediated conditions and to gain registrations for additional indications for its immune therapy portfolio.


In this respect, a cooperation between Octapharma and the Institute of Immunology of the University of Heidelberg/Germany was initiated several years ago which now led to the publication of novel results with regard to the modulating impact of octagam® on immune cells in patients with multiple sclerosis or peripheral neuropathies.


The effects of octagam® on the functions of NK cells are described in the publication Jacobi, et al.: Exposure of NK cells to intravenous immunoglobulin induces IFNγ release and degranulation but inhibits their cytotoxic activity (Clin. Immunol. (2009), doi:10.1016/j.clim.2009.09.006) demonstrate a novel immune modulatory effect of IVIg.


In the related research project, using  a laboratory whole blood assay system, it was found that  IVIg suppresses natural killer cells (NK cells) that that may play an important role in several autoimmune diseases. Whole blood was analyzed before and after IVIg therapy of patients: following IVIg treatment the number of natural killer cells in peripheral blood dropped significantly. The effects are presented in detail in the article and represent a novel immunomodulatory effect of IVIg. In addition, the in vitro assays employed could represent an informative test system to monitor effects of IVIg treatment at an individual level. It might also be reasonable to use a set of laboratory test systems to predict the individual response of a patient with immune mediated diseases to IVIg treatment.


About Octapharma

The Octapharma Group is an independent, Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company operating worldwide. Octapharma’s core business is the development, production, and sale of high-quality human proteins for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.

The Group has more than 3,000 employees in 28 countries, and owns five modern, state-of-the-art production facilities in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and Mexico, respectively.

About octagam®

octagam® is a 5% (50 mg/mL) immune globulin (human) solution for intravenous administration (IVIG) which is currently registered in about 60 countries, including the U.S.A. and the EU.

In the U.S.A. it is indicated for treatment of primary humoral immunodeficiency (PI), such as congenital agammaglobulinemia, common variable immunodeficiency, X-linked agammaglobulinemia, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and severe combined immunodeficiencies.


In EU countries, octagam® is approved for the following indications:

  • replacement therapy in primary immunodeficiency syndromes such as congenital agamma- and hypogammaglobulinaemia, common variable immunodeficiency, severe combined immunodeficiency (CVID) and Wiskott Aldrich syndrome (WAS)

  • replacement therapy in conditions with secondary immunodeficiency such as myeloma or chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) with severe secondary hypogammaglobulinaemia and recurrent infections, and in children with congenital AIDS and recurrent infections

  • immunomodulation in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in children or adults at high risk of bleeding or prior to surgery to correct the platelet count, in the neurologic condition Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and in Kawasaki disease

  • allogenic bone marrow transplantation



Looking forward statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements, which include known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors not under the company’s control. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments. These factors include results of current or pending research and development activities and actions by regulatory authorities.

Stefan Haag, MD
International Business Unit Immunotherapy
Octapharma AG

© Octapharma AG, 2009