Audentes Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing gene therapy products for patients living with serious, life-threatening rare diseases, announced that the FDA has cleared the investigational new drug (IND) application for AT342, the company's gene therapy product candidate to treat Crigler-Najjar Syndrome. The IND is now active and Audentes plans to initiate VALENS, the multicenter, multinational, open-label, ascending dose phase I/II clinical study of AT342. Preliminary data from VALENS is expected to be available by the end of 2017.
"We are pleased to achieve this important milestone and look forward to working with regulatory authorities and the medical and patient communities to evaluate AT342 for the treatment of this serious, life-threatening disease," stated Matthew R. Patterson, president and chief executive officer of Audentes Therapeutics. "Based on our thorough preclinical investigation, we believe that AT342 has the potential to provide a significant and durable reduction in serum bilirubin levels, to reduce or eliminate the need for daily phototherapy treatment, to decrease the risk of devastating neurological injury, and to significantly improve the quality of life for Crigler-Najjar patients and their families."
In addition to VALENS, Audentes plans to imminently begin LUSTRO, a clinical assessment and run-in study. LUSTRO is designed to enroll 16 to 18 Crigler-Najjar patients greater than one year of age and to characterize their disease course, natural history, bilirubin variability and phototherapy usage. The study is intended to identify patients for potential enrollment in VALENS and to serve as a within-patient control for VALENS.
AT342 has been developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania under the leadership of James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in human gene therapy and the director of the Gene Therapy Program and the Orphan Disease Center at the Perelman School of Medicine. As part of the collaboration, Penn has licensed certain Penn-owned AAV technologies to Audentes, including rights related to AT342.
Dr. Wilson reports no direct financial conflict of interest related to Audentes.
VALENS is designed as a multicenter, multinational, open-label, ascending dose study to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of AT342 in approximately 12 Crigler-Najjar patients greater than or equal to one year of age. The study is expected to include nine AT342 treated subjects and three delayed-treatment concurrent control subjects. Primary endpoints include safety (adverse events and certain laboratory measures, including immunological parameters) and efficacy (changes in serum bilirubin and number of hours on phototherapy within a 24-hour period). Secondary endpoints include the proportion of subjects successfully weaned off phototherapy, and UGT protein expression, DNA and RNA levels from liver biopsy at 24 weeks. Subjects are expected to remain on prescribed phototherapy for 12 weeks following administration of AT342. Subjects with a meaningful decrease in bilirubin at week 12 will be weaned off phototherapy over a five-week period, starting in week 13 and ending during week 17. The primary efficacy analyses are expected to be conducted at the 12 and 18 -week time points. Subjects are expected to be followed for a minimum of five years to assess long term safety and durability of effect.