Federal regulators put two experimental drugs targeting autism’s core symptoms on a fast track for testing and approval this year, but they’re still a long way from pharmacy shelves.

Balovaptan, from drugmaker Roche, aims to improve communication and social skills for people with autism by signaling a hormone linked to behavior. In January, the drug received a “breakthrough” therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration, indicating preliminary evidence of potential for clinical benefit. Enrollment is underway for children, teens and adults with autism to test the drug in clinical trials, company officials said.

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