Myrtelle’s rAAV-Olig001-ASPA Gene Therapy Candidate for Canavan Disease Receives Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product Classification from the European Medicines Agency
September 7, 2022
Wakefield, Mass., September 7th, 2022 – Myrtelle Inc., (“Myrtelle” or the “Company”), a clinical stage gene therapy company focused on developing transformative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has classified the Company’s lead gene therapy product candidate, rAAV-Olig001-ASPA for the treatment of Canavan disease, as an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP), specifically a Gene Therapy Medicinal Product (GTMP). ATMP classification, which is determined by the Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT), was established to regulate cell and gene therapy and tissue engineered medicinal products, support development of these products, and provide a benchmark for the level of quality compliance for pharmaceutical practices. As a designated GTMP product, rAAV-Olig001-ASPA will follow the Centralized Procedure through the EMA and benefit from a single evaluation and authorization process. Additional benefits established through the ATMP regulation include pathways for Scientific Advice and significant fee reductions for such advice.
rAAV-Olig001 is a novel vector from a class of recombinant AAVs (rAAVs) that selectively target oligodendrocytes – the cells in the brain responsible for producing myelin, the insulating material that enables proper function of neurons and makes up the brain’s white matter. The Company’s lead program is in Phase 1/2 clinical development for Canavan disease (CD) a fatal childhood genetic disorder characterized by the degeneration of the white matter in the brain. The production of myelin is affected in CD due to a mutation in the Aspartoacylase gene (ASPA) leading to deficiency in Aspartoacylase enzyme (ASPA). The oligodendrocyte-targeted gene therapy using the rAAV-Olig001 vector is intended to restore ASPA function, thus enabling metabolism of N-Acetylaspartic Acid (NAA), a neurochemical abundant in the brain, and supporting myelination. Myrtelle entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Pfizer Inc. in 2021 to develop and commercialize this novel gene therapy for the treatment of CD.
In addition to ATMP classification, rAAV-Olig001-ASPA has been granted US Orphan Drug, Rare Pediatric Disease, and Fast Track designations by the FDA which support the Company’s mission to provide treatments for patients with CD. “The designation by the EMA of rAAV-Olig001-ASPA as a Gene Therapy Medicinal Product as a potential treatment for patients with Canavan disease provides important benefits in the development of this innovative therapy. The ATMP classification will facilitate discussions with the EMA as part of our strategy to seek product registration in the EU,” said Nancy Barone Kribbs, PhD, Senior Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs at Myrtelle.
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 for its lead program in Canavan disease. 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 in which mutations in the Aspartoacylase gene (ASPA) prevent the normal expression of Aspartoacylase (ASPA), a critical enzyme produced in oligodendrocytes that breaks down the neurochemical N-Acetylaspartate (NAA). When not properly metabolized by oligodendrocytes, NAA accumulates in the brain and negatively affects bioenergetics, myelin production, and brain health. CD patients 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.
More information on Myrtelle’s clinical study in Canavan disease can be found on https://clinicaltrials.gov/ under the identifier NCT04833907 or by emailing PatientAdvocacy@MyrtelleGTX.com.
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 rAAV-Olig001-ASPA as a potential treatment for patients with Canavan disease. While Myrtelle believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on any such forward-looking statements, which are based in 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 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 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.
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