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Novartis reveals promising interim Phase 3 data for gene therapy Zolgensma in spinal muscular atrophy

Published on 18/04/19 at 11:32am

Novartis has revealed new interim data from its Phase 3 trial investigating the efficacy of its gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi; AVXS-101) in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1 in patients under six months old.

The data revealed that, following a one-time intravenous infusion of the therapy, Zolgensma “successfully transduced intended targets in the central nervous system (CNS) and provided widespread SMN expression comparable to tissue from unaffected individual.”

Specifically, it was shown that the drug extended event-free survival in patients, with 21 of the study’s 22 participants alive and event-free as of 27 September 2018, with a median age of 9.5 months. Data derived from untreated patients indicates that half of all babies with SMA Type 1 with either die or require permanent ventilation by the age of 10.5 months..

Additionally, an early and sharp rise in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP-INTEND) scores was observed, and preliminary assessments showed that there was greater achievement of motor milestones among patients than in untreated patients, with three patients able to sit without support for at least 30 seconds as of 27 September last year. By 31 December, this increased to eight patients.

"These STR1VE data reinforce what was seen in the pivotal Phase 1 START trial, including trends toward prolonged survival and milestone achievement never seen in the natural history of the untreated disease," said Dr Olga Santiago, Chief Medical Officer at AveXis. "With a patient population and baseline characteristics closely matched to the START trial, these data build upon the body of evidence supporting the use of Zolgensma for SMA Type 1."

The study is ongoing and expected to conclude in 2020.

Matt Fellows

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