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Fomivirsen (brand name Vitravene) is an antisense antiviral drug that was used in the treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) in immunocompromised patients, including those with AIDS. It was administered via intraocular injection.
It was discovered at the NIH and was licensed and initially developed by Isis Pharmacueticals, which subsequently licensed it to Novartis. It was licensed by the FDA for CMV in Aug 1998, and was the first antisense drug that was approved.
Novartis withdrew the marketing authorization in the EU in 2002 and in the US in 2006. The drug was withdrawn because while there was a high unmet need for drugs to treat CMV when the drug was initially discovered and developed due to the CMV arising in people with AIDS, the development of HAART dramatically reduced the number of cases of CMV.
- 5'-GCG TTT GCT CTT CTT CTT GCG-3'
 It blocks translation of viral mRNA by binding to the complementary sequence of the mRNA transcribed from the template segment of a key CMV gene UL123, which encodes the CMV protein IE2. It was the first antisense antiviral approved by the FDA.
- Katzung, Bertram G. (2006). Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division. p. 817. ISBN 0-07-145153-6.
- Bubela, Tania; McCabe, Christopher (21 July 2014). "Value-Engineered Translation: Developing Biotherapeutics That Align With Health-System Needs". American Journal of Managed Care.
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- "Public Statement on Vitravene (fomiversen): Withdrawal of the Marketing Authorization in the European Union" (PDF). EMA. August 6, 2002.
- "Initiating Coverage: Rexahn Pharmaceuticals (RNN)" (PDF). LifeSci Capital. May 23, 2016.
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- Vitravene Study, Group (2002). "Randomized dose-comparison studies of intravitreous fomivirsen for treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis that has reactivated or is persistently active despite other therapies in patients with AIDS". Am J Ophthalmol. 133 (4): 475–83. doi:10.1016/S0002-9394(02)01326-0. PMID 11931781.
- Roehr B (1998). "Fomivirsen approved for CMV retinitis". J Int Assoc Physicians AIDS Care. 4 (10): 14–6. PMID 11365956.
- "Vitravene (Fomivirsen) Drug Information: Uses, Side Effects, Drug Interactions and Warning". RxList. 2004-12-08. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
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