April 02, 2014 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) has adopted a positive opinion recommending ALN-TTRsc for designation as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of transthyretin (TTR)-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR).
"a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so"
"We are very pleased to have received a positive opinion from the EMA COMP on our application for Orphan Drug Designation for ALN-TTRsc," said Saraswathy (Sara) Nochur, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Alnylam. "We believe RNAi therapeutics represent a promising new approach for the treatment of ATTR, with the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients with this progressive and debilitating disease. We look forward to sharing Phase 2 clinical data from our ALN-TTRsc program later in the year, and, assuming continued positive results, we plan to advance to a Phase 3 pivotal trial in ATTR patients with TTR cardiac amyloidosis by the end of the year."
ALN-TTRsc is currently in a pilot Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of ATTR patients with TTR cardiac amyloidosis; this study is aimed at evaluating the tolerability of ALN-TTRsc in approximately 15 patients. In addition, the study will assess preliminary clinical activity as measured by knockdown of serum TTR levels and additional exploratory tests, such as cardiac imaging (including echocardiography and cardiac MRI), circulating cardiac biomarkers (NT-proBNP and troponins T and I), 6-minute walk test, New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification, and measures of heart failure symptoms and quality of life (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire and EQ-5D QOL). The company expects to present data from the Phase 2 trial in late 2014. Patients completing the Phase 2 trial will be eligible to participate in an open-label extension (OLE) study for further assessment of general tolerability and clinical activity with long-term dosing; the ALN-TTRsc Phase 2 OLE study is expected to be initiated in mid-2014. Assuming positive results, Alnylam expects to begin a Phase 3 trial in TTR cardiac amyloidosis patients by the end of 2014.
Orphan Drug Designation by the European Commission provides regulatory and financial incentives for companies to develop and market therapies that treat a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting no more than five in 10,000 persons in the European Union (EU), and where no satisfactory treatment is available. In addition to a 10-year period of marketing exclusivity in the EU after product approval, Orphan Drug Designation provides incentives for companies seeking protocol assistance from the EMA during the product development phase, and direct access to centralized marketing authorization.
In January 2014, Genzyme and Alnylam formed an alliance to accelerate and expand the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics across the world. The alliance is structured as a multi-product geographic alliance in the field of rare diseases. Alnylam retains product rights in North America and Western Europe, while Genzyme obtains the right to access Alnylam's current "5x15" and future genetic medicines pipeline in the rest of the world (ROW), including co-development/co-commercialization and/or global product rights for certain programs. In the case of ALN-TTRsc, Alnylam and Genzyme are co-developing and co-commercializing the product in North America and Western Europe, while Genzyme will advance the product in the ROW.
About Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloidosis
Transthyretin (TTR)-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR) is an inherited, progressively debilitating, and fatal disease caused by mutations in the TTR gene. TTR protein is produced primarily in the liver and is normally a carrier for retinol binding protein. Mutations in TTR cause abnormal amyloid proteins to accumulate and damage body organs and tissue, such as the peripheral nerves and heart, resulting in intractable peripheral sensory neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and/or cardiomyopathy. ATTR represents a major unmet medical need with significant morbidity and mortality; familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) affects approximately 10,000 people worldwide and familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy (FAC) affects at least 40,000 people worldwide. FAP patients have a life expectancy of five to 15 years from symptom onset, and the only approved treatment options for early stage disease are liver transplantation, and tafamidis (approved in Europe). The mean survival for FAC patients is approximately 2.5 years, and there are no approved therapies. Senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA) is a non-hereditary form of TTR cardiac amyloidosis caused by idiopathic deposition of wild-type TTR; its prevalence is generally unknown, but is associated with advanced age. There is a significant need for novel therapeutics to treat patients with TTR amyloid polyneuropathy and/or cardiomyopathy.
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as "a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so," and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNA (siRNA), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics as genetic medicines, including programs as part of the company's "Alnylam 5x15TM" product strategy. Alnylam's genetic medicine programs are RNAi therapeutics directed toward genetically defined targets for the treatment of serious, life-threatening diseases with limited treatment options for patients and their caregivers. These include: patisiran (ALN-TTR02), an intravenously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting transthyretin (TTR) for the treatment of TTR-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR) in patients with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP); ALN-TTRsc, a subcutaneously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting TTR for the treatment of ATTR in patients with TTR cardiac amyloidosis, including familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy (FAC) and senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA); ALN-AT3, an RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) for the treatment of hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders (RBD); ALN-CC5, an RNAi therapeutic targeting complement component C5 for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases; ALN-AS1, an RNAi therapeutic targeting aminolevulinate synthase-1 (ALAS-1) for the treatment of hepatic porphyrias including acute intermittent porphyria (AIP); ALN-PCS, an RNAi therapeutic targeting PCSK9 for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia; ALN-AAT, an RNAi therapeutic targeting alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) for the treatment of AAT deficiency liver disease; ALN-TMP, an RNAi therapeutic targeting TMPRSS6 for the treatment of beta-thalassemia and iron-overload disorders; ALN-ANG, an RNAi therapeutic targeting angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) for the treatment of genetic forms of mixed hyperlipidemia and severe hypertriglyceridemia; and other programs yet to be disclosed. As part of its "Alnylam 5x15" strategy, as updated in early 2014, the company expects to have six to seven genetic medicine product candidates in clinical development - including at least two programs in Phase 3 and five to six programs with human proof of concept - by the end of 2015. The company's demonstrated commitment to RNAi therapeutics has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Cubist, GlaxoSmithKline, Ascletis, Monsanto, The Medicines Company, and Genzyme, a Sanofi company. In January 2014, Alnylam acquired Sirna Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck. In addition, Alnylam holds an equity position in Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 200 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world's top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Cell, the New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam's future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, Alnylam's expectations regarding its "Alnylam 5x15" product strategy, Alnylam's views with respect to the potential for RNAi therapeutics, including ALN-TTRsc for the treatment TTR cardiac amyloidosis, its expectations with respect to the timing and success of its clinical trials, the expected timing of additional clinical trials, and its plans regarding commercialization of RNAi therapeutics, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, Alnylam's ability to manage operating expenses, Alnylam's ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates and delivery approaches, successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates, the pre-clinical and clinical results for its product candidates, which may not support further development of product candidates, actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials, obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property, Alnylam's ability to enforce its patents against infringers and defend its patent portfolio against challenges from third parties, obtaining regulatory approval for products, competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam's and others developing products for similar uses, Alnylam's ability to obtain additional funding to support its business activities and establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, Alnylam's dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of products, the outcome of litigation, and unexpected expenditures, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Risk Factors" filed with Alnylam's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in other filings that Alnylam makes with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam's views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Alnylam explicitly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Cynthia Clayton, 617-551-8207
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Amanda Sellers, 202-955-6222 x2597