Wakefield, Mass., November 7, 2023 – Myrtelle Inc. (“Myrtelle” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing transformative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that Christopher Janson, M.D., Principal Investigator on Myrtelle’s Canavan Disease Gene Therapy Trial and Associate Professor of Neuroscience & Founding Director of Human Gene Therapy Center at Premier Health Wright State Neuroscience Institute in Dayton, Ohio, will deliver a presentation entitled “Translation of Gene Therapy Brain Biomarkers from Nonclinical Science to Clinical Trials: A Case Study in Canavan Disease” on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at the 5th Annual Gene Therapy for Neurological Disorders Summit in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr. Janson’s presentation will highlight encouraging data to date from Myrtelle’s Phase 1/2 gene therapy clinical study of the Company’s proprietary rAAV vector in patients with Canavan disease (CD). The rAAV vector directly targets oligodendrocytes, the brain cells affected in CD that are responsible for producing myelin – the insulating material that enables proper neuronal function. In CD, normal brain development is impaired due to a mutation in the ASPA gene that encodes the enzyme aspartoacylase. The lack of normal aspartoacylase activity negatively impacts myelin production and brain development. This unique oligodendrocyte-targeting rAAV vector is a novel gene therapy approach directed at restoring ASPA function and brain development specifically in these target cells in patients with CD.
The presentation will review encouraging post-treatment improvements through the primary analysis timepoint at one year in the Phase 1/2 clinical study, including emerging data on biomarkers identified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that precede clinical score improvements in motor and cognitive function using validated scales. Specifically, statistically significant early gains in target white matter and myelin were observed following gene therapy which predict later improvements in specific functional scores on the validated Gross Motor Function Measure and Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Improvements generally continued to progress from the 6-month timepoint to the 12-month readout. As presented previously, treated patients were also observed to outperform an untreated age-matched natural history cohort on multiple measures. Dr. Janson’s presentation will also cover foundational nonclinical data illustrating the gene therapy efficacy in model systems.
“Biomarker improvements observed on MRI imaging in patients are supportive of underlying recovery of brain anatomy following gene therapy treatment. These results reinforce the hypothesis that addressing the gene deficit directly in the brain, and specifically oligodendrocytes, of patients with Canavan disease can potentially restore myelination and support functional improvements,” said Dr. Janson. “We look forward to sharing details at the upcoming summit.”
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7, 2023, 2:30 pm
Location: Hilton Back Bay Hotel, Boston, MA
Myrtelle Inc. is a gene therapy company focused on developing transformative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The company has a proprietary platform, intellectual property, and portfolio of programs and technologies supporting innovative gene therapy approaches for neurodegenerative diseases. Myrtelle has an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Pfizer Inc. for its Canavan disease program. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at: www.myrtellegtx.com.
ABOUT CANAVAN DISEASE
Canavan disease (CD) is a fatal childhood genetic brain disease caused by mutations in the ASPA gene (ASPA) which prevent the normal expression of aspartoacylase, a critical enzyme produced in oligodendrocytes. The lack of normal aspartoacylase expression negatively impacts brain development, including myelin production. Patients with CD are impacted at birth but may appear normal until several months old when symptoms begin to develop. Poor head control, abnormally large head size, difficulty in eye tracking, excessive irritability, severely diminished muscle tone, and delays in reaching motor milestones, such as rolling, sitting, and walking, are the typical initial manifestations of CD. As the disease progresses, seizures, spasticity, difficulties in swallowing, and overall muscle deterioration emerge with most affected children developing life-threatening complications by approximately 10 years of age. Currently, there are no cures for CD, and only palliative treatments are available.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Words such as “may,” “believe,” “will,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions, or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based upon current estimates and assumptions and include statements regarding results obtained to date continuing to reinforce the hypothesis that addressing the gene deficit directly in the brain, and specifically in oligodendrocytes, of patients with Canavan disease can potentially restore myelination and support functional improvements. While Myrtelle believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on any such forward-looking statements, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict, that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations and assumptions from those set forth or implied by any forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among others, Myrtelle’s program demonstrating safety and efficacy, as well as future results that are consistent with prior results, the ability to generate the data needed for further development of this novel gene therapy in the patients with CD, and the ability to continue its clinical trials and to complete them on time and achieve the desired results. All forward-looking statements are based on Myrtelle’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, Myrtelle expressly disclaims any responsibility to update any forward-looking statement contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.