Disease Areas

Friedreich Ataxia 

Man with Friedreich Ataxia cycling

Friedreich Ataxia (FA)

FA is a genetic, debilitating and life-shortening neurodegenerative disease, affecting approximately 15,000 individuals globally.1 Early symptoms of FA, such as progressive loss of coordination, muscle weakness and fatigue, typically appear in children and can overlap with other diseases. Many people with FA use walking aids and often require a wheelchair. Most people will need to use a wheelchair within 10 to 20 years after symptom onset.3 Other symptoms of FA include vision impairment, hearing loss, slurred speech, aggressive scoliosis, diabetes mellitus, and serious heart conditions.1

Our Approach

Biogen acquired Reata Pharmaceuticals in September 2023, and we are proud to build on the outstanding work Reata has done to launch the first and only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Commission (EC) approved treatment for FA in adults and adolescents aged 16 years and older. Biogen will leverage our rare disease expertise and capabilities to help bring this treatment to more patients living with this devastating disease.

Emily's story: Living with FA

With her support system by her side, Emily, who was diagnosed with FA at age 15, is inspired to pursue the things she loves most.

Facts and Figures


Approximately 75% of people with FA are diagnosed between 5 and 18 years of age.1




The average life expectancy for people living with FA is 37 years.2




Most people living with FA will need to use a wheelchair within 10-20 years of their first symptoms. 3



1. Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance - What is FA? (curefa.org).

2. Parkinson MH, Boesch S, Nachbauer W, Mariotti C, Giunti P. Clinical features of Friedreich's ataxia: classical and atypical phenotypes. J Neurochem. 2013 Aug;126 Suppl 1:103-17. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12317. PMID: 23859346.

3.  Rummey et al., E Clinical Medicine 18, 2020

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