At Ipsen, our licensed medicines and R&D cover a range of therapeutic areas. However, all are focused on curing disease and relieving suffering, hoping to bring real value to the healthcare community.
Our primary focus lies in three main areas: oncology (cancers), neurosciences (diseases of the nervous system) and rare diseases.
Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with canceri. Ipsen is committed to developing new treatments with the ability to improve and extend lives of those affected.
iCancer Research UK: Cancer Incidence Statistics UK. Available here. Accessed May 2021.
Tackling cancer head-on
Although often talked about generally, ‘cancer’ describes a diverse range of diseases (over 200 different types of cancer exist)i. Each type of cancer is typically characterised by the presence of abnormal cells that divide in an uncontrolled wayii. Some cancers can be surgically removed or treated successfully, particularly if they are detected early. However, for people with advanced or complicated cancers, treatment options can be limitediii.
iCancer Research UK: What is Cancer? Available here. Accessed May 2021
ii Cancer Research UK: Cancer Cells. Available here. Accessed May 2021
iiiCancer Research UK: Treatment for Cancer. Available here. Accessed May 2021
Areas we work in within oncology
Ipsen’s work in oncology currently focuses on a number of cancer types, looking at where we can add benefit along every step of the treatment pathway and use targeted therapies to address conditions with high unmet needs.
Breast cancer is a major health issue across the UK. In 2018 it was the 4th most common cause of cancer death in the UK, with 55,176 new cases of invasive breast cancer reported in the UK every year between 2015-2017i.
The treatment of breast cancer depends on where the cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in the body, and a patient’s general health. Typical treatment options may include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted cancer medicinesii.
Ipsen works to provide effective treatment options for women with breast cancer, including those looking to help prevent the return of their cancer once it is in remission.
Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in males in the UK. From 2016-2018 there were around 11,900 deaths, accounting for 13% of all male cancer deaths in the UK, with 48,487 new cases reported in the UK between 2015-2017.i
The treatment of prostate cancer depends on where the cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in the body and the patient’s general health. Typical treatment options may include watch-and-wait (active monitoring), surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.ii
Ipsen support men with prostate cancer through the development of new therapies, including for patients whose cancer may have spread (locally advanced/metastatic).
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, accounting for over 80% of casesi. Between 2015 and 2017 there were 13,056 new cases of kidney cancer with 4,361 deaths in 2016-2018ii.
The treatment received depends on the stage and type of kidney cancer. It is estimated that between 25% and 31% of people diagnosed with kidney cancer have advanced disease when it is discovered, indicating that cancer has already spread and is incurableiii.
Ipsen focus is to primarily help deliver treatment options for people with renal cell carcinoma whose cancer has spread and is incurable.
Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs)
A neuroendocrine tumour (NET) is a rare tumour that can develop in many different organs of the body. It affects the ells that release hormones into the bloodstream (neuroendocrine cells).i
The main goal of treatment of NETs is either to remove the tumour by surgery, alleviate symptoms, control the tumour growth or help maintain a good quality of life.
Ipsen has sought to find solutions to help patients and doctors better manage NETs, including for cases where the disease may be indolent and require tumour and symptom control.
Medullary thyroid cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer that can spread to different parts of the body, including the liver or lungs. Only 2% of thyroid cancers are medullary thyroid cancer and a quarter are caused by an inherited faulty genei.
Surgery is the primary treatment for thyroid cancer, to completely remove the thyroid (total thyroidectomy). Once the disease is more advanced, a patient could be eligible with other types of therapyii.
Primary liver cancer is cancer that started in the liver. There are 5 main types but hepatocellular carcinoma (also called hepatoma or HCC) is the most common type. This type of liver cancer develops from the main liver cells called hepatocytes. It’s more common in people who have a damaged liver from cirrhosis (scarring of the liver due to previous damage, such as from the hepatitis B or C virus or long term alcoholic drinking)i.
Incidence rates for liver cancer are projected to rise by 38% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 15 cases per 100,000 people by 2035. This means new treatment options may become increasingly importantii.
At Ipsen we have pioneered research in the area of neuroscience for decades and remain committed to providing patients with innovative therapeutic solutions.
Searching for solutions to debilitating neurological conditions
Neurological conditions are disorders of the brain, spinal cord or nerves. They can have a range of causes including genetic factors, traumatic injury and infection. The causes of some of these conditions are still not well understood.
Some of these conditions are debilitating and many of them can severely affect a person’s quality of lifei.
iThe Neurological Alliance: Living with a Neurological Condition. Available here. Accessed May 2021
Areas we work in within neuroscience
A primary focus at Ipsen is progressing the development of new medicines in the treatment of neurological disorders.
Our work in neurology is wide-ranging, with much of our research focused on improving the care of people who experience debilitating movement disorders.
Blepharospasm causes the muscles around your eyes to spasm involuntarily, thought to arise due to the loss of control of the normal blink reflex. The condition frequently leads to uncontrollable eye closure or blinking, however in severe cases a person may be unable to open their eyes for several minutes at a time, impacting their daily lifestylei.
Ipsen’s research into this area looks to block the nerve impulse at the junction between the nerve and the muscle, reducing the uncontrollable muscular contractions of the eyelids.
Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect both co-ordination and movement. It is caused by brain problem that can develop before, during or soon after birth.
The severity of the symptoms can vary significantly, with some experiencing minor problems and others being severely disabled. When the baby is first born the symptoms of cerebral palsy are not usually obvious, however become noticeable during the child’s first 2-3 years of life.
Currently there is no cure for cerebral palsy, however treatments are available to help people has as normal and independent life as possiblei.
Ipsen’s work in the area of cerebral palsy helps to address some of the symptoms of this debilitating condition, with a focus on the treatment of spasticity in children.
Cervical dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterised by continuous or intermittent muscle contractions which cause abnormal, often painful, repetitive movements of the neck and head. The movements can lead to the head and neck twisting (torticollis) or being pulled forwards (antecollis), backwards (retrocollis) or sideways (laterocollis)i.
Ipsen supports the treatment of patients with cervical dystonia through medicines which act to block the nerve impulse between the nerve and the muscle, reducing the contractions.
Hemifacial spasm causes similar spasms to blepharospasm, however the muscles around just one eye spasm involuntarily, and it also usually involves other muscles elsewhere on the same side of the face e.g the cheek and mouth, creating an involuntary face twitch on one side of your facei.
Treatments similar to that of blepharospasm have been developed that block the nerve impulses between the nerves and muscles, to reduce the muscle contraction.
Spasticity is a physiological consequence of damage to the brain or spinal cord and may typically occur following a stroke or head trauma. Additionally, the condition is associated with cerebral palsy. The condition causes abnormal muscle contractions, resulting in limbs losing their flexibility and leading to pain and a reduction in mobilityi.
Ipsen has pioneered research in this area to develop treatments that aim to reduce muscular contractions.
iNair K.P.S and Marsden J. ‘The management of spasticity in adults.’ BMJ. 2014;349:g4737. Accessed May 2021
In the EU, a disease is considered to be rare when the number of people affected is less than 5 per 10,000.i Ipsen is committed to translating scientific progress into clinically meaningful medicines for people suffering from rare conditions.
iWHO. Priority diseases and inclusion. Available here. Accessed May 2021
Addressing areas of unmet need
Ipsen’s work in rare diseases currently focuses on a number of endocrine diseases, looking at how we can address areas of high unmet need for people affected by hormone and metabolic imbalances.
The endocrine system is comprised of a series of glands, which are each responsible for secreting a specific type of hormone into the bloodstream. Endocrine diseases occur when these glands make either too more or too little of their respective hormone and can cause issues with growth, development, metabolism and sexual functioni.
iThe Christie NHS Trust: Endocrine tumours. Available here. Accessed May 2021
Areas we work in within rare diseases
Ipsen continues to develop innovative medicines in rare diseases to address conditions with high unmet needs, with specific investment in pituitary pathologies and growth disorders.
Acromegaly is a rare condition caused by excess production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland, resulting in body tissues and bones growing more quicklyi. About 2-4 people in a million develop acromegaly each year in the UK. The condition can cause a wide range of symptoms which usually progress slowly over time, including thickened vocal cords, facial changes (e.g. thickened lips and nose) and enlarged tongueii.
Precocious puberty refers to the onset of puberty at an abnormally early age; before age 8 in girls, and 9 in boys. It is 5-10 times more common in girls than boys.
There are two different forms of precocious puberty:i
- Central precocious puberty (CPP), (also know as true precocious puberty) is caused by early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis.
- Precocious pseudopuberty (gonadotrophin-independent precocious puberty) accounts for about 20% of cases and is brought about by production of sex hormones independently of the maturation of the HPGaxis.
Medical treatment aims to suppress and slow down physical development, address acceleration of bone age and provide psychological stability.
Pituitary thyrotrophic adenoma
Pituitary thyrotrophic adenoma is a tumour which can produce excessive amounts of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include tremulousness, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhoea, anxiety and palpitations.
This rare form of pituitary tumour affects patients when they are typically in their 40s and 50s i. Pituitary thyrotrophic adenoma is diagnosed by laboratory and radiological tests which involve measuring blood thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levelsi,ii.
Growth hormone and IGF-1 deficiency
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and signals the liver to develop insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). In children affected by growth hormone (or IGF-1) deficiency, growth slows down or stops from the age of 2 or 3 years. The condition is diagnosed via blood tests and close monitoring of height, comparing a child’s growth with average rates for children of the same age and gender. Growth hormone/IGF-1 deficiency is treated by replacing the mission hormone with a synthetic version i.
Turner’s Syndrome is a female only genetic disorder which causes girls to have only one normal X sex chromosome, rather than two. This variation happens randomly when a baby is conceived.i
Girls affected by Turner’s Syndrome are typically shorter than average and have underdeveloped ovaries, which can cause fertility issues. Other symptoms associated with Turner’s Syndrome can affect the face (e.g. drooping eyelids and crowding of the teeth), the skin (e.g. occurrence of moles and presence of obvious blood vessels) as well as bones (e.g. short fingers and nail changes).i,ii
Other therapeutic areas
Other therapeutic areas
Every day we strive to support positive change for patients and health services across the UK, working in close partnership to deliver meaningful results. At Ipsen, our licensed medicines and R&D cover a range of therapeutic areas.
We are committed to improving quality of life for patients and discovering new solutions for targeted debilitating diseases.
Other therapeutic areas
Other therapeutic areas we work within
- Endometriosis: affects approximately 1.5 million women in the UKi
- Uterine fibroids: estimated to affect at least 1 in 2 women in their lifetime, if not moreii
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the womb (endometrium) is found outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubesi. This condition is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, however there is no cure for endometriosis, but treatments are availableii.
Ipsen’s work in this area aims to relieve symptoms of the condition to prevent it interfering with daily life.
Fibroids (also called uterine myomas or leiomyomas) are benign growths of uterine muscle and fibrous tissue, whose development is influenced by sex hormones, in particular oestrogen. At least 1 in 2 women develop one or more fibroids in their lifetime. They usually develop in women aged 30-50 and can sometimes run in families.
The majority of fibroids are asymptomatic and therefore require no treatment. However, when fibroids cause discomfort for patients, there are several treatment options to alleviate symptomsi.
Ipsen supports people affected by fibroids by finding ways to minimise symptoms and help patients live better lives.
Date of preparation: June 2021