CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Genzyme, a Sanofi company, announced today that the first pediatric patient has begun treatment in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial focused on evaluating the investigational therapy olipudase alfa. Olipudase alfa is an enzyme replacement therapy being studied for the treatment of nonneurological manifestations of acid sphingomyelinase deficiency (ASMD), also known as Niemann-Pick disease type B, as opposed to type A, which is characterized by neurological involvement. ASMD is a serious and life-threatening disorder caused by insufficient activity of the enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) resulting in toxic accumulation of sphingomyelin. There are currently no approved treatment options for patients with Niemann-Pick disease type B.
The Phase 1/2 trial is a multi-national, multi-center, open label, ascending dose trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of olipudase alfa administered intravenously once every 2 weeks for 52 weeks in pediatric patients with ASMD. Twelve pediatric patients will be enrolled into 3 age cohorts: an adolescent cohort (12 to <18 years of age); a child cohort (6 to <12 years of age); and an infant/early child cohort (birth to <6 years of age). The primary objective of the Phase1/2 trial is to assess the safety and tolerability of olipudase alfa. Upon completion of the 52-week trial, patients will have the option to enroll into an extension study. Genzyme is preparing for enrollment to begin in a Phase 2/3 trial involving adult patients with ASMD in the second half of 2015. For more information please visit http://clinicaltrials.gov.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to olipudase alfa. Breakthrough Therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of investigational new drugs that target serious or life-threatening conditions. The criteria for granting Breakthrough Therapy designation are preliminary clinical evidence of substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint over available therapies. The Breakthrough Therapy designation is distinct from the FDA’s other mechanisms to expedite drug development and review, and will allow for a close collaboration between Genzyme and the FDA on the olipudase alfa development program.
“With start of clinical studies both in pediatric and adult patients just a few months apart, we are confirming our commitment to the Niemann Pick disease patient community to advance the development of this novel therapy as quickly as possible and for both patient populations,” said Head of the Sanofi Genzyme R&D Center, Jim Burns, Ph.D. “We are very grateful to the patients for their engagement and their support in advancing this exciting program.”
About ASMD (Niemann-Pick Disease)
Traditionally called Niemann-Pick disease types A and B (NPD A and NPD B), Acid Sphingomyelinase Deficiency (ASMD) is one of a group of lysosomal storage diseases that affect the metabolism and that are caused by genetic mutations. ASMD is caused by the deficiency of a specific enzyme, acid sphingomyelinase (ASM). This enzyme is found in special compartments within cells called lysosomes and is required to metabolize a lipid called sphingomyelin. If ASM is absent or not functioning properly, sphingomyelin cannot be metabolized properly and is accumulated within the cell, eventually causing cell death and the malfunction of major organ systems. Niemann-Pick A and Niemann-Pick B are both caused by the same enzymatic deficiency and there is growing evidence that the two forms represent opposite ends of a continuum.
About Genzyme, a Sanofi Company
Genzyme has pioneered the development and delivery of transformative therapies for patients affected by rare and debilitating diseases for over 30 years. We accomplish our goals through world-class research and with the compassion and commitment of our employees. With a focus on rare diseases and multiple sclerosis, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families we serve. That goal guides and inspires us every day. Genzyme’s portfolio of transformative therapies, which are marketed in countries around the world, represents groundbreaking and life-saving advances in medicine. As a Sanofi company, Genzyme benefits from the reach and resources of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with a shared commitment to improving the lives of patients. Learn more at www.genzyme.com.
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Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT:SAN) and in New York (NYSE:SNY).
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