LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline is trying to expand the market for its Benlysta drug beyond lupus by launching a major study of the medicine as a treatment for a serious blood vessel disorder.
GSK acquired full control of Benlysta when it bought Human Genome Sciences for $3 billion last year. Current sales of the drug are modest, at 70 million pounds ($106 million) in 2012, but GSK hopes it will become a major seller.
Britain’s biggest drugmaker said on Wednesday it was starting a final-stage Phase III clinical study to assess Benlysta in treating a particular type of vascular disease called ANCA associated vasculitis.
Vasculitis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks blood vessels leading to inflammation, resulting in disruption of blood flow that can cause organ damage.