Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation for mRNA-3927, its investigational mRNA therapeutic for propionic acidemia (PA). The Company announced the open IND for mRNA-3927 on September 30, 2019.
“Propioic acidemia is caused by the inability of the body to breakdown certain proteins and fats which leads to the build-up of toxic chemicals. The disease is characterized by life-threatening illnesses in response to minor stressors, neurological dysfunction and cardiomyopathy,” said George Diaz, M.D., Ph.D., chief, division of medical genetics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Currently there are no approved therapies available that treat the underlying cause of this debilitating disease.”
“Fast Track designation underscores the urgent need for a therapy that treats the underlying cause of propionic acidemia,” said Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at Moderna. “We are preparing to initiate a Phase 1/2 clinical study of mRNA-3927 to continue learning about the potential for this investigational therapy to restore enzyme activity in patients with propionic acidemia.”
Fast Track is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of therapies and vaccines for serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. Programs with Fast Track designation may benefit from early and frequent communication with the FDA, in addition to a rolling submission of the marketing application. The Company previously received Fast Track designation for its investigational Zika vaccine (mRNA-1893) and methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) (mRNA-3704) programs.
Moderna plans to initiate an open-label, multi-center, dose escalation Phase 1/2 study of multiple ascending doses of mRNA-3927 in primarily pediatric patients with PA in the United States and Europe. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the safety and tolerability of mRNA-3927 administered via IV infusion, characterize the pharmacokinetic profile of mRNA-3927 and assess the pharmacodynamic response as assessed by changes in plasma biomarkers.
PA and MMA are rare diseases that share similar disease pathology and are both typically treated by metabolic specialists. In order to characterize and describe the natural history of these disorders and identify potential clinical and biomarker endpoints, Moderna is conducting a global, multi-center, non-interventional observational study for patients with confirmed diagnosis of PA or MMA. More information about this study can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov. Moderna is currently recruiting patients with MMA for a Phase 1/2 study of mRNA-3704. More information about this study can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.
mRNA-3927 is designed to instruct the body to restore the missing or dysfunctional proteins that cause PA. mRNA-3927 contains two mRNAs that encode for the alpha and beta subunits of the mitochondrial enzyme propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC), encapsulated within Moderna’s proprietary lipid nanoparticle (LNP). mRNA-3927 is intended to treat patients with PA regardless of whether they are missing the alpha or beta subunits. mRNA-3927 uses the same proprietary LNP formulation used in the Company’s antibody against chikungunya virus (mRNA-1944) and MMA (mRNA-3704) programs.
In addition to Fast Track designation, mRNA-3927 has also been granted Orphan Drug and Rare Pediatric Disease designations from the FDA and Orphan Designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
About Propionic Acidemia (PA)
PA is a rare, life-threatening, inherited metabolic disorder that is the result of a deficiency in PCC that is an enzyme critical for metabolism. This deficiency can lead to a toxic buildup of acids in the body. Symptoms of PA typically become apparent during infancy and may include weak muscle tone, poor feeding, vomiting and lack of energy. More severe health problems can also occur, including heart abnormalities, seizures and coma.
The only effective treatment for severely affected individuals is liver transplant, which replaces the deficient PCC enzyme. Currently there are no approved therapies to treat the underlying cause of PA, including no enzyme replacement therapy, due to the complexity of the PCC enzyme that requires mitochondrial localization.
Moderna is advancing messenger RNA (mRNA) science to create a new class of transformative medicines for patients. mRNA medicines are designed to direct the body’s cells to produce intracellular, membrane or secreted proteins that have a therapeutic or preventive benefit with the potential to address a broad spectrum of diseases. Moderna’s platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, providing the Company the capability to pursue in parallel a robust pipeline of new development candidates. Moderna is developing therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases and cardiovascular diseases, independently and with strategic collaborators.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Moderna currently has strategic alliances for development programs with AstraZeneca, Plc. and Merck, Inc., as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Moderna has been ranked in the top ten of Science’s list of top biopharma industry employers for the past four years. To learn more, visit www.modernatx.com.
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended including, but not limited to, statements concerning: Moderna’s plans to initiate an open-label, multi-center, dose escalation Phase 1/2 study of multiple ascending doses of mRNA-3927; mRNA-3927’s potential to restore enzyme activity in children with PA; and mRNA-3927’s potential for patients with PA regardless of whether they have defects in the alpha or beta subunits of PCC. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond Moderna’s control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others: whether the Phase 1 results for mRNA-1944 will be predictive of any future clinical studies for other development candidates with the same lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation, including mRNA-3927 and mRNA-3704; the fact that clinical development is lengthy and uncertain, especially for a new class of medicines such as mRNA, and therefore Moderna’s clinical programs or development candidates may be delayed, terminated, or may never advance; no mRNA drug has been approved in this new potential class of medicines, and may never be approved; mRNA drug development has substantial clinical development and regulatory risks due to the novel and unprecedented nature of this new class of medicines; and those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Moderna’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Moderna with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Moderna disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Moderna’s current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof.
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