May 2, 2012, Updated May 15, 2012

A new Israeli developed treatment for Gaucher disease is set to hit pharmacies around the globe, following approval of the new drug by the American Food and Drug Administration.

The new medication is called Elelyso and it was developed by Israel’s Protalix BioTherapeutics and licensed to pharma giant Pfizer.

Pfizer paid Protalix $60 million for an exclusive agreement to sell the drug except in Israel, according to a report in Bloomberg. The report also said that Pfizer  agreed to pay Protalix $55 million for meeting certain regulatory requirements.

The FDA approved Elelyso as a treatment for Type 1 Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder that can cause liver and neurological problems.

There are already two other drugs on the market to treat Gaucher. Protalix hails Elelyso – which is made from carrot cells — as the first FDA-approved drug made from a genetically engineered plant.

People with Gaucher lack an important enzyme, which leads to the dangerous buildup of fatty chemicals in the liver, spleen and nervous system. Elelyso, or chemically known as taliglucerase, was approved as a replacement for that enzyme.


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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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