Lupus is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease which attacks and damages parts of the body including the kidney, skin, heart, and joints.
It is estimated that 5 million people worldwide and approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus. Approximately 70% of patients are women of childbearing age. Medications to treat lupus include anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, antimalarials, and immunosuppressive medications.
After fifty years without a new drug approval, a wave of new targeted therapies are in the development pipeline and promise to bring long sought relief from the disease. The first to reach the market is Benlysta which was developed by GlaxoSMithKline and Human Genome Sciences and recently gained FDA approval in March of 2011.