Blisibimod was licensed from Amgen in December 2007 with exclusive worldwide rights. Blisibimod targets B-cell activating factor, or BAFF, which has been shown to be elevated in a variety of B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases, including Immunoglobulin A nephropathy, or IgA nephropathy, systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, lupus nephritis, and others.
Blisibimod is currently in development for the treatment of IgA nephropathy (IgAN). IgAN (also known as Berger’s disease) is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis worldwide, occurring more frequently in Asia than in Europe or North America. IgAN is characterized by deposition of IgA-anti IgA immune complexes in the kidney, resulting in inflammation, the leakage of blood and protein into the urine, and loss of kidney function. The disease typically progresses slowly but as many as 40-50% of adults will eventually develop end-stage-renal disease and require dialysis or kidney transplant. There are currently no approved therapies for IgA nephropathy.