GSK’s gene therapy for rare condition in children gets EMA backing
pharmafile | April 4, 2016 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing | ADA-SCID, European Medicines Agency, GlaxoSmithKline, Orphan Therapy, Rare Treatment, drug trial, gene therapy
UK drug major GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) has won marketing recommendation from European regulators for its first gene therapy to treat a rare condition that makes newly-born children incapable of fighting everyday infections.
The therapy known as Strimvelis received the backing from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat the condition known as adenosine-deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).
If approved, this will be the first of its kind treatment made available to patients in the world. So far there is no authorised medicine to treat ADA-SCID in the EU.
Patrick Vallance, president, R&D, GSK says: “We welcome this opinion from the CHMP which is an important step towards making Strimvelis available to the children living with this incredibly rare and fatal condition. Going forward, we hope to apply this gene therapy platform technology across other diseases, enabling many more patients to benefit from this innovative treatment approach.”
Strimvelis, made from the patient’s cells is targeted at treating a condition also known as the bubble-boy disease. The treatment is created using the patient’s immature bone marrow cells into which a normal adenosine deaminase enzyme gene has been inserted. After these cells are injected back into the patient, the cells are able to develop into the different types of blood and immune cells. This is expected to give the patient life-long ability to produce lymphocytes that can fight off infections.
Martin Andrews, head of the rare disease unit at GSK says: “If approved, Strimvelis will become the first corrective ex-vivo gene therapy for children to achieve regulatory approval anywhere in the world.”
ADA-SCID is estimated to occur in about 15 patients per year in Europe. ADA-SCID is a very rare disorder caused by a faulty gene inherited from both parents. This faulty gene stops the production of an essential protein called adenosine deaminase (ADA), which is required for the production of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Children born with ADA-SCID do not develop a healthy immune system so cannot fight off everyday infections, which results in severe and life-threatening illness.
Strimvelis was granted orphan designation in 2005. Orphan therapy designation gives medicine developers access to incentives such as fee reductions for scientific advice, or the possibility to obtain 10 years’ market exclusivity for an authorised orphan-designated medicine. It is a key instrument available in the EU to encourage the development of medicines for patients with rare diseases.
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