SARASOTA, Fla. and NOVATO, Calif., May 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GeneTx Biotherapeutics LLC and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel products for serious rare and ultra-rare diseases, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to GTX-102 for the treatment of Angelman syndrome (AS). GTX-102 is an investigational antisense oligonucleotide currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 study for the treatment of AS.
“GeneTx is committed to improving the quality of life of individuals living with Angelman syndrome,” said Paula Evans, Chief Executive Officer, GeneTx. “Receiving Fast Track designation for GTX-102 is an important recognition of our antisense oligonucleotide program and the promise it might offer to this patient population.”
About Fast Track Designation
The FDA’s Fast Track designation is a program designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs intended to treat serious conditions that demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need. Fast Track designation allows for early and frequent communication with the FDA throughout the entire drug development and review process, and allows for a rolling review of a company’s New Drug Application (NDA). Products with Fast Track designation may also be eligible for Priority Review, if relevant criteria are met at the time of NDA filing.
About Angelman Syndrome
Angelman syndrome is a rare, neurogenetic disorder caused by loss-of-function of the maternally inherited allele of the UBE3A gene. The maternal-specific inheritance pattern of Angelman syndrome is due to genomic imprinting of UBE3A in neurons of the central nervous system, a naturally occurring phenomenon in which the maternal UBE3A allele is expressed and the paternal UBE3A is not. Silencing of the paternal UBE3A allele is regulated by the UBE3A antisense transcript (UBE3A-AS), the intended target of GTX-102. In almost all cases of Angelman syndrome, the maternal UBE3A allele is either missing or mutated, resulting in limited to no protein expression. This condition is typically not inherited but instead occurs spontaneously.
Individuals with Angelman syndrome have developmental delay, balance issues, motor impairment, and debilitating seizures. Some individuals with Angelman syndrome are unable to walk and most do not speak. Anxiety and disturbed sleep can be serious challenges in individuals with Angelman syndrome. While individuals with Angelman syndrome have a normal lifespan, they require continuous care and are unable to live independently. Angelman syndrome is not a degenerative disorder, but the loss of the UBE3A protein expression in neurons results in abnormal communications between neurons. Angelman syndrome is often misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy. There are no currently approved therapies for Angelman syndrome; however, several symptoms of this disorder can be reversed in adult animal models of Angelman syndrome suggesting that improvement of symptoms can potentially be achieved at any age.
About GTX-102 and the Ongoing Phase 1/2 Study
GTX-102 is an investigational antisense oligonucleotide designed to target and inhibit expression of UBE3A-AS. Nonclinical studies show that GTX-102 reduces the levels of UBE3A-AS and reactivates expression of the paternal UBE3A allele in neurons of the CNS. Reactivation of paternal UBE3A expression in animal models of Angelman syndrome has been associated with improvements in some of the neurological symptoms associated with the condition. GTX-102 has been granted Orphan Drug Designation and Rare Pediatric Disease Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In August 2019, GeneTx and Ultragenyx announced a partnership to develop GTX-102, with Ultragenyx receiving an exclusive option to acquire GeneTx.
The Phase 1/2 KIK-AS (Knockdown of UBE3A-antisense in Kids with Angelman Syndrome) study is an ongoing open-label, multiple-dose, dose-escalating study will enroll 20 patients to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and potential efficacy of GTX-102 in pediatric patients with Angelman syndrome. Preliminary data from the first cohorts of the study are expected in the first half of 2021. This is the first investigational study testing an antisense oligonucleotide as a potential therapy to treat AS. Further details can be referenced at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04259281.
About GeneTx Biotherapeutics
GeneTx Biotherapeutics LLC is a startup biotechnology company singularly focused on developing and commercializing a safe and effective antisense therapeutic for the treatment of Angelman syndrome. GeneTx was launched by FAST, a patient advocacy organization and the largest non-governmental funder of Angelman syndrome research. GeneTx licensed the rights to antisense technology intellectual property from The Texas A&M University System in December 2017.
About Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
Ultragenyx is a biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing patients novel products for the treatment of serious rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. The company has built a diverse portfolio of approved therapies and product candidates aimed at addressing diseases with high unmet medical need and clear biology for treatment, for which there are typically no approved therapies treating the underlying disease.
The company is led by a management team experienced in the development and commercialization of rare disease therapeutics. Ultragenyx’s strategy is predicated upon time and cost-efficient drug development, with the goal of delivering safe and effective therapies to patients with the utmost urgency.
For more information on Ultragenyx, please visit the Company's website at www.ultragenyx.com.
Ultragenyx Forward-Looking Statements
Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements related to Ultragenyx's expectations regarding plans for its clinical programs and clinical studies, future regulatory interactions, and the components and timing of regulatory submissions are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause our clinical development programs, collaboration with third parties, including our partnership with GeneTx, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the clinical drug development process, such as the regulatory approval process, the timing of regulatory filings and approvals (including whether such approvals can be obtained), the effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on clinical trial activities and other business operations, and other matters that could affect sufficiency of existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments to fund operations and the availability or commercial potential of our products and drug candidates. Ultragenyx undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Ultragenyx in general, see Ultragenyx's Annual Report filed on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 14, 2020, and its subsequent periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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