RARE Daily

KemPharm Shows Its Stripes with Name Change to Zevra Therapeutics

February 23, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Drug developer KemPharm said is has changed its name to Zevra Therapeutics to reflect its intensified focus on rare diseases.

“The adoption of the name Zevra, the Greek word for zebra, is an important step in our journey to become a leading rare disease company since the zebra is the recognized symbol of the rare disease community around the world,” said Richard Pascoe, CEO of Zevra.

The company’s common shares will trade on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the new ticker symbol “ZVRA” starting on or about March 1, 2023.

In May 2022, Zevra acquired arimoclomol, an orally delivered, first-in-class investigational product candidate for the treatment of Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, from Orphazyme as part of the company’s long-term vision to evolve into a commercially driven rare disease therapeutics company.

Through the acquisition, Zevra added key new team members with years of rare disease therapeutic research and development experience, maintained the ongoing early access programs and relationships with treatment centers in the United States and Europe, and is building upon longstanding partnerships within the NPC patient community.

NPC, a rare disease with no currently approved treatments in the United States, primarily affects children and is often fatal, causing progressive loss of brain, nerve, liver, spleen, bone marrow, and lung functions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted arimoclomol Orphan Drug, Fast Track, and Rare Pediatric Disease designations for treating NPC.

In addition to arimoclomol, Zevra is advancing KP1077, a product candidate based on Zevra’s prodrug of d-methylphenidate, serdexmethylphenidate, which is currently being evaluated in a phase 2 trial for the treatment of idiopathic hypersomnia, a rare sleep disorder. Pending the results from that trial, the company plans to conduct a pivotal phase 3 study in IH, with the potential to study an expanded indication in narcolepsy.

“The launch of the Zevra brand today marks the next key step in our evolution into a commercially-focused rare disease therapeutics company. People with rare diseases are desperately awaiting treatments, and even one drug that doesn’t reach them is one drug too many,” said Matthew Plooster, chairman of the Zevra board of directors. “The Zevra team is actively leveraging their deep scientific and clinical expertise and strategic approach to overcome drug development and regulatory barriers to advance much-needed solutions to the people who need them.”

Photo: Richard Pascoe, CEO of Zevra

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