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U.S. FDA panel backs Vanda's circadian rhythm drug

Nov 14 (Reuters) - An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that an experimental drug designed to help regulate the internal body clocks of blind patients appears safe and effective.

The drug, tasimelteon, is designed to treat Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, or Non-24, a condition that is most commonly found in the totally blind and can cause disrupted nighttime sleep patterns and excessive daytime sleepiness.

If approved it would be marketed under the proposed brand name Hetlioz.

The FDA is due to make a decision on whether to approve the drug by Jan. 31, 2014. The agency is not bound to follow the advice of its advisory panels but typically does so.