U.S. FDA approves Teva's biotech drug for severe asthma

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it had approved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's drug to treat asthma in adults who have a history of severe attacks despite taking medication. The drug, Cinqair, part of a new wave of biotech drugs for severe asthma, is administered intravenously every four weeks in combination with other drugs. (http://1.usa.gov/1LGGELI) Teva's treatment will compete with GlaxoSmithKline Plc's recently approved Nucala, as well as Xolair, an established drug jointly developed by Novartis AG and Roche Holding AG. Nucala was approved by the FDA in November and, like Cinqair, is an antibody that reduces levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that contributes to the development of asthma. Over-production of eosinophils can cause inflammation in the lungs, increasing the frequency of asthma attacks. More than 22 million Americans suffered from asthma in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates there are more than 400,000 asthma-related hospitalizations each year. (Reporting by Natalie Grover and Dipika R Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Anupama Dwivedi)