Abeona Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ABEO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing gene therapies for life-threatening rare diseases, announced today that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent group of medical experts closely monitoring the clinical trial, has reviewed the initial safety data from the low dose cohort (n=3) in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial of ABO-102 (AAV-SGSH) enrolling at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Following review of the safety data, the DSMB authorized that the clinical trial proceed with enrollment and dose escalation for the second cohort. The high-dose cohort will enroll up to six additional patients dosed at 1.0 X 1013 vg/kg, which is twice the amount of ABO-102 received by patients in the low-dose cohort.
“These early results support Abeona’s unique approach to treating patients with Sanfilippo syndrome, where there are both profound CNS and whole body manifestations of the disease,” stated Timothy J. Miller, Ph.D., President and CEO of Abeona Therapeutics. “We look forward to reporting on future progress and potential for ABO-102 as we begin to enroll patients at the high dose and open additional clinical sites internationally.”
Abeona’s ABO-102 program has been granted both Orphan Product Designation and Rare Pediatric Disease Designation in the USA and plans to open two additional clinical sites, one in Spain and one in Australia, to test ABO-102. A Phase 1/2 clinical study of ABO-102 in Spain was recently approved by the Agencia Espanola de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios, and the Company is preparing to conduct this clinical study at Cruces University Hospital in Bilbao, Spain.
Sanfilippo Syndrome Type A, or MPS IIIA, is a rare lysosomal storage disease caused by genetic mutations that result in a deficiency of SGSH enzyme activity, leading to abnormal accumulation of certain sugars (specifically, the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) heparan sulfate) in the central nervous system (CNS) and systemic tissues and organs. The accumulation of heparan sulfate results in neurocognitive decline, speech loss, loss of mobility, and premature death.
About ABO-102 (AAV-SGSH): ABO-102 is an adeno-associated viral (AAV)-based gene therapy for patients with MPS IIIA (Sanfilippo syndrome), that is delivered as a one-time intravenous injection. ABO-102 delivers a functioning, corrective copy of the SGSH gene to cells of the central nervous system (CNS) and other organs with the goal of correcting the underlying deficits caused by the inborn genetic errors that are the cause the disease. ABO-102 has been well tolerated through 30 day post-injection in subjects injected with the low-dose (n=3). Encouraging signs of early biopotency have been observed in urinary and CSF GAG (glycosaminoglycan, specifically, heparan sulfate) measurements, as well as potential disease-modifying effects in the liver and spleen of the initial subjects enrolled and treated in the trial. The clinical study is supported by neurocognitive evaluations, biochemical assessments and MRI data generated in a 25-subject MPS III Natural History Study, also conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where patients continued through one-year of follow up assessments.
About Sanfilippo syndromes (or mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type III): a group of four inherited genetic diseases each caused by a single gene defect, described as type A, B, C or D, which cause enzyme deficiencies that result in the abnormal accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs, or sugars) in body tissues. MPS III is a lysosomal storage disease, a group of rare inborn errors of metabolism resulting from deficiency in normal lysosomal function. The incidence of MPS III (all four types combined) is estimated to be 1 in 70,000 births. Mucopolysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecule used in the building of connective tissues in the body. There is a continuous process in the body of replacing used materials and breaking them down for disposal. Children with MPS III are missing an enzyme, which is essential in breaking down the used mucopolysaccharides called heparan sulfate. The partially broken down mucopolysaccharides remain stored in cells in the body causing progressive damage. In MPS III, the predominant symptoms occur due to accumulation within the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord, resulting in cognitive decline, motor dysfunction, and eventual death. Importantly, there is no cure for MPS III and treatments are largely supportive care.
About Abeona: Abeona Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical stage company developing gene and plasma-based therapies for life-threatening rare genetic diseases. Abeona’s lead programs are ABO-102 (AAV-SGSH) and ABO-101 (AAV-NAGLU), adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapies for Sanfilippo syndrome (MPS IIIA and IIIB), respectively. Abeona is also developing EB-101 (gene-corrected skin grafts) for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), ABO-201 (AAV-CLN3) gene therapy for juvenile Batten disease (JNCL); ABO-202 (AAV-CLN1) gene therapy for treatment of infantile Batten disease (INCL), and ABO-301 (AAV-FANCC) for Fanconi anemia (FA) disorder using a novel CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing approach to gene therapy for rare blood diseases. In addition, Abeona has a plasma-based protein therapy pipeline, including SDF Alpha™ (alpha-1 protease inhibitor) for inherited COPD, using our proprietary SDF™ (Salt Diafiltration) ethanol-free process. For more information, visit www.abeonatherapeutics.com.