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InterMune® Announces Support for First Ever European Patient Charter on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

MUTTENZ, Switzerland, February 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

To mark international Rare Disease Day, InterMune today announces its support for the development of a European Patient Charter for people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

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IPF is an irreversible, progressive and ultimately fatal fibrotic interstitial lung disease[i],[ii]. IPF has a projected survival rate of only 20-40% after five years,[i],[ii] making it more rapidly lethal than many cancers [iii],[iv]. The disease causes scarring of the lungs, irreversibly destroying normal lung architecture and hindering a person's ability to breathe.

The Charter will see, for the first time, patient advocacy groups and healthcare professionals come together at a European level to campaign for more standardized care and equal access to diagnosis, treatment and after care options for those with IPF in Europe.

Advocacy groups and healthcare professionals from a number of European countries will meet in Brussels on March 8 this year to identify and agree the key priorities for IPF patients. The Charter will then form a central part of efforts to raise awareness of these issues and to bring them to the attention of national and European policy makers.  

The Charter will be launched via an online public petition and a lunch event at the EU Parliament later this year.  

Commenting on the initiative, Cristina Coteanu, the lead candidate for the Fédéralistes Démocrates Francophones in Belgium and a key supporter of the initiative, said:

"Despite its devastating impact on patients, IPF has not received the attention it deserves in Europe. This initiative is an important step forward in raising awareness of the condition and for galvanizing national and European policy makers into taking action to address inequalities in care and treatment. I look forward to supporting the Charter when it has been developed, and to securing the backing of colleagues from across the political spectrum."

Lida Naber of the Dutch Pulmonary Fibrosis Society (Longfibrose NL) added:

"We strongly believe that all pulmonary fibrosis patients throughout Europe should receive the best available treatment and support, alongside appropriate reimbursement. It is important for the IPF community to speak with one voice and we are looking forward to campaigning with our colleagues to push treatment and care up the agenda and to address unacceptable inequalities in care."

Giacomo di Nepi, General Manager of InterMune Europe stated:

"InterMune is dedicated to IPF research and the development of treatments for this irreversible disease. We are pleased to play our part in supporting the Charter initiative, which will be essential for improving care and access to healthcare services. The development of a Charter provides clinicians, patient advocacy groups and patients the opportunity of working together to identify the key concerns that can and must be addressed by policy makers."

InterMune is proud to support European patient associations in their commitment to develop an IPF Charter that will benefit IPF patients.  InterMune has contributed financially to the organization of the first meeting in Brussels.

About IPF

IPF is an irreversible, progressive and ultimately fatal fibrotic interstitial lung disease which inevitably leads to worsening lung function and exercise tolerance, and shortness of breath.  Every IPF patient follows a different and unpredictable course and it is not possible to predict if a patient will progress slowly or rapidly, or when the rate of decline may change.  Periods of transient clinical stability in IPF, should they occur, inevitably give way to continued disease progression.  The median survival time from diagnosis is two to five years,[i],[ii]with a five-year survival rate of approximately 20-40 percent [i],[ii] which makes IPF more rapidly lethal than many cancers, including breast, ovarian and colorectal [iii],[iv].  IPF typically occurs in patients over the age of 45, and is more common in men than in women.[iii]

About InterMune

InterMune is a biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative therapies in pulmonology and orphan fibrotic diseases. In pulmonology, we are focused on therapies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and fatal lung disease. Pirfenidone, the only medicine approved for IPF anywhere in the world, is marketed by InterMune in the EU and Canada as Esbriet® and is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial to support regulatory registration in the United States. InterMune's research programs are focused on the discovery of targeted, small-molecule therapeutics and biomarkers to treat and monitor serious pulmonary and fibrotic diseases. For additional information about InterMune and its R&D pipeline, please visit http://www.intermune.com.

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact:

i. American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;165:277(304.

ii. Bjoraker JA, Ryu JH, Edwin MK, Myers JL, Tazelaar HD, Schroeder DR, Offord KP: Prognostic significance of histopathologic subsets in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1998, 157: 199-203.

iii. Raghu G et al. Incidence and prevalence of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2006; 174: 810-16.

Raghu G et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011;183:788(824

iv. Cancer Facts and Figures 2009, American Cancer Society. PAH data source: Hamilton, N. and Elliot C. 13.

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