By Toni Clarke
Jan 31 Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc said on
Friday that U.S. health regulators have approved its drug
Hetlioz to regulate the internal body clocks of blind patients
and help normalize sleep patterns.
The drug, also known as tasimelteon, is designed to treat
Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, or Non-24, a condition that is
common among the totally blind. It can cause disrupted nighttime
sleep patterns and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Vanda's shares rose 8 percent to $14.10 in afternoon trading
after initially rising as high as $15.59 on the news.
Non-24 is a rare disorder that affects between 65,000 and
95,000 people, according to Vanda. It occurs almost exclusively
in people who are deprived of light, which is needed to
synchronize the body's internal clock.
Sales of the drug are expected to rise to about $295 million
by 2018 according to two analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Hetlioz affects melatonin, a hormone produced by the body's
pineal gland that plays a key role in regulating the body's
master circadian clock. When taken before bed it resets that
clock by replacing the normal resetting triggered by light.
Vanda's only marketed product is its schizophrenia drug
Fanapt, which is commercialized in the United States and Canada
by the Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG under a licensing