Pfizer Celebrates Anniversary with a Documentary Film Premiere
On March 17, 2012, Pfizer Hemophilia kicked off the 15th Anniversary celebration of BeneFIX® Coagulation Factor IX (Recombinant) with a documentary film that premiered prior to the start of the Coalition for Hemophilia B Symposium in New York City. The anniversary documentary, Pushing Boundaries: How Science Impacted the Treatment of Hemophilia B, presented a brief history of hemophilia B and told the story of the development of recombinant factor IX and the approval of BeneFIX. The documentary featured interviews with Pfizer leadership, researchers and a hemophilia B patient, while illustrating the challenges researchers had to overcome in developing BeneFIX.
Approximately 80 people attended the documentary premiere event including patients, their families, researchers and documentary participants. The film hit home for many people in attendance, especially those whose lives have been personally affected by hemophilia B and those responsible for the research advancements that led to the creation of BeneFIX.
“Growing up, we were very uneducated about my hemophilia – an infusion wasn’t just something you took, it was a long process,” President of the Coalition for Hemophilia B and hemophilia B patient Wayne Cook said in the video. “The hospital didn’t have access to fresh frozen plasma on a regular basis. The doctors had a military-style blood transfusion where they hooked me up to my dad and gave me a transfusion from my dad to myself.”
The feedback Pfizer researchers received from patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups helped guide the company’s product development efforts in recombinant factor IX. “There are only 3,300 hemophilia B patients in the U.S., but they have a loud voice,” Roz Witte, Hemophilia Sales Director, said in the video. “It was great that Genetics Institute listened to them.”
BeneFIX was developed at the Genetics Institute’s campus (now Pfizer) in Andover, Mass. When Chandra Webb, Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer Global R&D, who was also featured in the video, began working on BeneFIX in 1993, few people had ever manufactured and formulated a recombinant protein clotting factor“The development of BeneFIX pioneered many of the recombinant protein drug production techniques now commonly used,” said Webb. “We use the knowledge and understanding we gained then to bring our hemophilia products to patients on a daily basis.”
BeneFIX received FDA “fast track” approval in the U.S. on February 11, 1997. Today, BeneFIX is available in more than 30 countries and has helped more than 30,000 patients worldwide. In honor of the 15th Anniversary of BeneFIX, the Pfizer team produced the documentary and will hold viewings at local and national hemophilia events throughout the year.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to travel to Andover and see where BeneFIX was created and meet the researchers who developed the drug,” said Dr. Bartholomew Tortella, Senior Director of Medical Affairs, Hemophilia at Pfizer. “This video not only celebrates the 15 years BeneFIX has been available, but also serves as much-deserved recognition for all the researchers involved.”
What Is BeneFIX?
BeneFIX is an injectable medicine that is used to help control and prevent bleeding in people with hemophilia B. Hemophilia B is also called congenital factor IX deficiency or Christmas disease.
BeneFIX is NOT used to treat hemophilia A.
Important Safety Information for BeneFIX
- BeneFIX is contraindicated in patients who have manifested life-threatening, immediate hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, to the product or its components, including hamster protein.
- Call your health care provider right away if your bleeding is not controlled after using BeneFIX.
- Allergic reactions may occur with BeneFIX. Call your health care provider or get emergency treatment right away if you have any of the following symptoms: wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, your lips and gums turning blue, fast heartbeat, facial swelling, faintness, rash or hives.
- Your body can make antibodies, called “inhibitors,” which may interfere with the effectiveness of BeneFIX.
- If you have risk factors for developing blood clots, such as a venous catheter through which BeneFIX is given by continuous infusion, BeneFIX may increase the risk of abnormal blood clots. The safety and efficacy of BeneFIX administration by continuous infusion have not been established.
- Some common side effects of BeneFIX are nausea, injection site reaction, injection site pain, headache, dizziness and rash.
Please see full Prescribing Information for BeneFIX available at www.benefix.com.
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