Posted on March 8, 2010 at 7:06 PM
This morning I awoke to a news report by National Public Radio’s Joe Palca on promising developments in gene transfer. In it, Palca provided a good account of the field’s travails, as well as some encouraging developments in the last few years. The story ended with the prediction that the coming “months and years” would bring landings for more common disorders like AIDS and cancer.
Coincidentally, the just released March issue of Nature Biotechnology ran a report on a front-runner for gene transfer commercialization: biotechnology company Ark Therapeutics gene transfer gliobastoma product Cerepro. The application for licensure of this product in Europe was unsuccessful (press release here). Recall that, last June, I described what seemed like unimpressive results from a phase 3 trial that were reported at an annual meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy. Apparently, European drug regulators weren’t impressed either (they cited flaws in trial design, including a small sample size and unconcealed allocation; Ark has asked the agency to re-examine their application).
But for those awaiting the first commercialization of a gene transfer product in a country with a robust drug regulatory system, there is still some indication that the rains may be subsiding: according to the report in Nature Biotechnology, Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics has filed with EMEA for marketing authorization of their AAV product for a rare hereditary disorder, LPL deficiency; the company will soon file in Canada as well (the disorder is more prevalent in Quebec) (photo credit: Occhiovivo 2007)