AstraZeneca – FDA Approval of Saphnelo™ (anifrolumab) For Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Dr. Richard Furie, Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Northwell Health, and principal investigator in​ the Saphnelo™ (anifrolumab) clinical trials for the treatment of moderate-to-severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) discusses what this approval means for the SLE community. This complex disease hasn’t seen a new treatment approved in over a decade. Saphnelo™ is also under regulatory review for SLE in the EU and Japan. The ​phase III trial in SLE using subcutaneous delivery has been initiated, and additional ​phase III trials are planned in lupus nephritis, cutaneous lupus erythematosus and myositis. 

Richard Furie, MD, is chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Northwell Health. As a rheumatologist, Dr. Furie has spent the last several decades focusing his activities on patient care, physician education and clinical research in the area of anti-rheumatic drug development.

Dr. Furie’s research focus has been in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and related diseases, such as the antiphospholipid syndrome. Specifically, he has played an instrumental role in drug development and clinical trial design in SLE and lupus nephritis. He directs The Program in Novel Therapeutics, Northwell Heath’s clinical research program, in musculoskeletal disease. Dr. Furie also directs the SLE and Autoimmune Disease Treatment Center, which has become internationally recognized for its role in the development of new therapies for SLE.

Regarded as one of the senior rheumatologists in the New York metropolitan area, Dr. Furie has served as a volunteer for the local chapters of the Arthritis Foundation and the Lupus Alliance, the Lupus Foundation of America, the SLE Foundation, the Lupus Research Alliance and Lupus Therapeutics. For 20 years, he served on many committees of the American College of Rheumatology and was named a master of the college in 2018. Although often featured as a speaker at national and international conferences, Dr. Furie’s favorite educational venue is at home with his colleagues and trainees. (Source: Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health)

He specializes in the study of systemic lupus erythematosus. He is founder of the Monash Lupus Clinic, Australia’s largest research-grounded clinic for patients with SLE, a founding member of the Australian Lupus Registry & Biobank, and Chair of the Asia-Pacific Lupus Collaboration. His clinical research focuses on improving endpoints for clinical research in lupus. His lab has studied the biology of glucocorticoids in rheumatic disease and lupus since 1996. 

He is a clinical rheumatologist, and Head of the Monash Health Rheumatology Unit, the largest in Australia. (Source: Monash University)

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