CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Have Been Awarded an FDA RMAT Designation for CTX001™ in the Treatment of Severe Hemoglobinopathies
CTX001 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. FDA for transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia and from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia
ZUG, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA, May 11, 2020 — CRISPR Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CRSP) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced that the U.S. FDA RMAT designation to CTX001, an investigational, autologous, gene-edited hematopoietic stem cell therapy, for the treatment of severe sickle cell disease (SCD) and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (TDT).
“RMAT designation is another important regulatory milestone for CTX001 and underscores the transformative potential of a CRISPR-based therapy for patients with severe hemoglobinopathies,” said Samarth Kulkarni, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of CRISPR Therapeutics. “We expect to share additional clinical data on CTX001 in medical and scientific forums this year as we continue to work closely with global regulatory agencies to expedite the clinical development of CTX001.”
“The first clinical data announced for CTX001 late last year represented a key advancement in our efforts to bring CRISPR-based therapies to people with beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease and demonstrate the curative potential of this therapy,” said Bastiano Sanna, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Cell and Genetic Therapies at Vertex. “We are encouraged by these recent regulatory designations from the FDA and EMA, which speak to the potential impact this therapy could have for patients.”
Established under the 21st Century Cures Act, RMAT designation is a dedicated program designed to expedite the drug development and review processes for promising pipeline products, including genetic therapies. A regenerative medicine therapy is eligible for RMAT designation if it is intended to treat, modify, reverse or cure a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug or therapy has the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition. Similar to Breakthrough Therapy designation, RMAT designation provides the benefits of intensive FDA guidance on efficient drug development, including the ability for early interactions with FDA to discuss surrogate or intermediate endpoints, potential ways to support accelerated approval and satisfy post-approval requirements, potential priority review of the biologics license application (BLA) and other opportunities to expedite development and review.
In addition to RMAT designation, CTX001 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. FDA for TDT and from the European Commission for TDT and SCD. CTX001 also has Fast Track Designation from the U.S. FDA for both TDT and SCD.
CTX001 is an investigational ex vivo CRISPR gene-edited therapy that is being evaluated for patients suffering from TDT or severe SCD in which a patient’s hematopoietic stem cells are engineered to produce high levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF; hemoglobin F) in red blood cells. HbF is a form of the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin that is naturally present at birth and is then replaced by the adult form of hemoglobin. The elevation of HbF by CTX001 has the potential to alleviate transfusion requirements for TDT patients and painful and debilitating sickle crises for SCD patients.
CTX001 is the most advanced gene-editing approach in development for beta thalassemia and SCD.
CTX001 is being developed under a co-development and co-commercialization agreement between CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex.
About the CRISPR-Vertex Collaboration
CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex entered into a strategic research collaboration in 2015 focused on the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to discover and develop potential new treatments aimed at the underlying genetic causes of human disease. CTX001 represents the first treatment to emerge from the joint research program. CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex will jointly develop and commercialize CTX001 and equally share all research and development costs and profits worldwide.
About CRISPR Therapeutics
CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolutionary gene editing technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. CRISPR Therapeutics has established a portfolio of therapeutic programs across a broad range of disease areas including hemoglobinopathies, oncology, regenerative medicine and rare diseases. To accelerate and expand its efforts, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic partnerships with leading companies including Bayer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and ViaCyte, Inc. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and business offices in San Francisco, California and London, United Kingdom.
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases. The company has multiple approved medicines that treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) — a rare, life-threatening genetic disease — and has several ongoing clinical and research programs in CF. Beyond CF, Vertex has a robust pipeline of investigational small molecule medicines in other serious diseases where it has deep insight into causal human biology, including pain, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and APOL1-mediated kidney diseases. In addition, Vertex has a rapidly expanding pipeline of genetic and cell therapies for diseases such as sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex’s global headquarters is now located in Boston’s Innovation District and its international headquarters is in London, UK. Additionally, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry’s top places to work, including 10 consecutive years on Science magazine’s Top Employers list and top five on the 2019 Best Employers for Diversity list by Forbes.