January 3, 2024 – Kirkland, Qc – Pfizer Canada ULC announced that Health Canada approved BEQVEZ (fidanacogene elaparvovec), an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-based gene therapy for the treatment of adults (aged 18 years or older) with moderately severe to severe hemophilia B (congenital Factor IX (FIX) deficiency) who are negative for neutralizing antibodies to variant AAV serotype Rh74.
“Pfizer has more than 30 years of experience in developing and commercializing therapies for hematological disorders, and a deep understanding of the significant challenges that people living with hemophilia continually face,” said Frédéric Lavoie, Canada Lead – Specialty Business Unit, Pfizer Canada ULC. “We are proud to introduce an innovative therapy for people living with hemophilia B in the form of gene therapy.”
Health Canada’s approval for BEQVEZ is based on the open label, single arm Phase 3 BENEGENE-2 study, to evaluate the efficacy and safety of fidanacogene elaparvovec in adult male participants (age 18–65) with moderately severe to severe hemophilia B (defined as FIX circulating activity of 2% or less). The main objective of the study was to evaluate the annualized bleeding rate (ABR) for participants treated with gene therapy versus FIX prophylaxis replacement regimen, administered as part of usual care. The study enrolled 45 participants.
“Our team at McMaster University is proud to have been a clinical trial site in Canada that studied this therapy,” expressed Dr. Alfonso Iorio, Professor and Chair, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. “This new treatment shows potential in reducing the burden of frequent infusions by providing, with a single infusion, a persistent liver production of factor IX, which could help improve the life of those affected.”
Based on the World Federation of Hemophilia, more than 38,000 people worldwide were living with hemophilia B in 20211. In Canada, hemophilia B affects over 700 individuals2.
“The Canadian Hemophilia Society welcomes the approval of BEQVEZ, the second gene therapy for hemophilia B to receive its Notice of Compliance from Health Canada in recent months,” said Wendy Quinn, Canadian Hemophilia Society (CHS) President. "Our hope is that gene therapy will be made available to those who are eligible and have made an informed decision to proceed. We are committed to ensuring education and support for our community as gene therapies have the potential to fundamentally transform treatment and improve quality of life for some individuals. The CHS will work closely with health authorities in the provinces and territories to ensure that gene therapies for hemophilia B become accessible to eligible patients across Canada as soon as possible.”
About Hemophilia B
Hemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder that causes the blood to take a long time to clot due to a deficiency in one of several blood clotting factors and is predominately found in males3. People with hemophilia are at risk for excessive and recurrent spontaneous and/or post-traumatic bleeding, which can be life-threatening, particularly in those with severe hemophilia. People with severe hemophilia often bleed spontaneously into their muscles or joints, or rarely into other critical closed spaces such as the intracranial space, where bleeding can be fatal1.
People with hemophilia B have a deficiency in clotting FIX, a specific protein in the blood. Hemophilia B is also called congenital FIX deficiency or Christmas disease. The current standard of care requires recurrent intravenous infusions of either plasma-derived or recombinant FIX to control and prevent bleeding episodes3.
About BEQVEZ (fidanacogene elaparvovec)
BEQVEZ is a gene therapy that utilizes a bioengineered adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid (protein shell) to deliver the high-activity human FIX gene. The goal of this gene therapy for eligible people living with hemophilia B is that, once treated, they will be able to produce FIX via this one-time treatment, rather than having to regularly receive intravenous FIX.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada ULC is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that help extend and improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or you can follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, X, Instagram or YouTube.
For further information:
 What is hemophilia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 1, 2022. Accessed December 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemophilia/facts.html#:~:text=Hemophilia%20is%20usually%20an%20inherited,can%20help%20to%20stop%20
 Factor Fix Deficiency 2021, Factor FIX Deficiency - 2021 (ahcdc.ca), Accessed December 2023
 Hemophilia. Mayo Clinic. October 7, 2021. Accessed December 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemophilia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373327