From early next year UK patients with haemophilia A will have the option of using a new, longer-acting treatment to keep bleeds under control, after Sobi and Biogen’s Elocta was approved for use in the country.

Elocta [rFVIIIFc] will be the first haemophilia A treatment the European Union to offer prolonged protection against bleeding episodes with prophylactic injections every three to five days instead of every other day as is necessary with conventional therapies.

Haemophilia A is a rare, chronic, genetic disorder in which the ability of a person’s blood to clot is impaired due to missing or reduced levels of a protein known as factor VIII. People with haemophilia A experience bleeding episodes that may cause pain, irreversible joint damage and life-threatening haemorrhages.

Liz Carroll, chief executive of The UK Haemophilia Society, hopes availability of the treatment will help to make the disease a smaller part of some family lives. “A recent survey of our members highlighted fewer joint problems, less pain and fewer bleeds as the top three factors people with haemophilia feel would improve their quality of life,” she said.

Clinicians have also welcomed the drug’s approval. “This signifies a real milestone for haemophilia care in UK and Ireland - the beginning of the next generation of therapy for haemophilia A,” said John Pasi, Professor of Haemostasis and Thrombosis, at Barts and the London, Queen Mary, Univeristy of London. “It’s hugely encouraging to see such positive developments in the treatment options we have at our disposal”.

The product, co-developed by Biogen and Sobi and also approved in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan under the trade name Eloctate, will be available in the first EU countries, including the UK, in early 2016.