First gene therapy to receive full EU marketing authorization for eligible MLD patients. One-time treatment with Libmeldy has been shown to preserve motor and cognitive function. Achievement shared with research alliance partners Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele.
Orchard Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ORTX), a global gene therapy leader, and its research alliance partners Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele, today announced that the European Commission (EC) granted full (standard) market authorization for Libmeldy (autologous CD34+ cells encoding the ARSA gene), a lentiviral vector-based gene therapy approved for the treatment of metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), characterized by biallelic mutations in the ARSA gene leading to a reduction of the ARSA enzymatic activity in children with i) late infantile or early juvenile forms, without clinical manifestations of the disease, or ii) the early juvenile form, with early clinical manifestations of the disease, who still have the ability to walk independently and before the onset of cognitive decline. Libmeldy is the first therapy approved for eligible patients with early-onset MLD.
MLD is a very rare, fatal genetic disorder caused by mutations in the ARSA gene which lead to neurological damage and developmental regression. In its most severe and common forms, young children rapidly lose the ability to walk, talk and interact with the world around them, and most pass away before adolescence. Libmeldy is designed as a one-time therapy that aims to correct the underlying genetic cause of MLD, offering eligible young patients the potential for long-term positive effects on cognitive development and maintenance of motor function at ages at which untreated patients show severe motor and cognitive impairments.
“Today’s EC approval of Libmeldy opens up tremendous new possibilities for eligible MLD children faced with this devastating disease where previously no approved treatment options existed,” said Bobby Gaspar, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of Orchard.
“Libmeldy is Orchard’s first product approval as a company, and I am extremely proud of the entire team who helped achieve this milestone. We are grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to bring this remarkable innovation to young eligible patients in the EU.”
With Libmeldy, a patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are selected, and functional copies of the ARSA gene are inserted into the genome of the HSCs using a self-inactivating (SIN) lentiviral vector before these genetically modified cells are infused back into the patient. The ability of the gene-corrected HSCs to migrate across the blood-brain barrier into the brain, engraft, and express the functional enzyme has the potential to persistently correct the underlying disease with a single treatment.
“The EC approval of Libmeldy comes more than a decade after the first patient was treated in clinical trials performed at our Institute, and ushers in a remarkable and long-awaited shift in the treatment landscape for eligible MLD patients, said Luigi Naldini, M.D, Ph.D., director of the San Raffaele-Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget) in Milan, Italy.
“Our team at SR-Tiget has been instrumental in advancing the discovery and early-stage research of this potentially transformative therapy to clinical trials in support of its registration through more than 15 years of studies supported by Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele, and we are extremely proud of this achievement and what it means for patients and the field of HSC gene therapy.”
“MLD is a heart-breaking disease that causes immeasurable suffering and robs children of the chance of life,” said Georgina Morton, chairperson of ArchAngel MLD Trust.
The marketing authorization for Libmeldy is valid in all 27 member states of the EU as well as the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Orchard is currently undertaking EU launch preparations related to commercial drug manufacturing, treatment site qualification and market access.