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A federal bankruptcy court judge has approved the sale of a rare disease drug to a startup company backed by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, a notable step in one of the latest dramas over access to experimental medicines.

At issue is adrabetadex, which Mallinckrodt (MNKKQ) was studying to combat Niemann-Pick type C, or NPC, a rare progressive genetic disorder that mainly affects children. But the company ended clinical testing earlier this year after studies indicated the drug had no benefit. That was a devastating decision for families because there is currently no treatment for NPC approved for use in the U.S.

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