InterMune says Canada approves lung-disease drug

BRISBANE, Calif. -- InterMune Inc. said Tuesday that Canadian regulators approved its lung-disease drug Esbriet.

InterMune said Health Canada approved Esbriet as a treatment for mild-to-moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in adults. The company said the disease affects 5,000 to 8,000 people in Canada. InterMune said it is working to secure reimbursement for Esbriet from the government and from private health insurers. It expects the drug to be available in Canada on Jan. 1.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a terminal lung disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the lung. Esbriet is designed to slow the progress of the disease and reduce declines in lung function.

European Union regulators approved Esbriet in February. It is now on the market in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden, and InterMune plans to start selling it in France before the end of this year.

Shares of InterMune rose 32 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $9.17 in aftermarket trading following the announcement. During the regular trading session, the stock declined 21 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $8.85. The stock traded as high as $51 in April 2011.