Genascence Corp. has been awarded US$11.6 million over 4 years from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to help advance the company's GNSC-001 gene therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA). The funding will support a phase Ib trial and manufacturing activities.
Otoferlin is a calcium sensor protein critical for the transmission of the signal from inner hair cells (IHCs) to the spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), and it is encoded by the OTOF gene. Pathogenic biallelic loss of function variations in OTOF result in failure of synaptic transmission, causing autosomal recessive deafness 9 (DFNB9), which is a congenital severe-to-profound auditory neuropathy.
A trio of proposed Medicare drug payment models that made a Feb. 14 debut in the U.S. is playing to mixed reviews. Two of the models to be tested by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center seem to “address the real problems underlying prescription drug pricing – patient out-of-pocket expenses and better payment systems that reward the value a medicine brings to the patient and the overall health care system,” said John Murphy, chief policy officer for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. But he called the third model, which is expected to restrict Medicare payment for some Part B drugs that have indications with accelerated approval, “an attack on the accelerated approval pathway,” which Congress mandated to spur investment and innovation in areas of unmet medical need.
A phase IIb clinical study has Frequency Therapeutics Inc. reeling and making big changes, including layoffs. The placebo-controlled phase IIb study of FX-322 in treating acquired sensorineural hearing loss by regenerating hair cells in the cochlea missed its primary efficacy endpoint, so the company is discontinuing the program. It’s also shutting down a phase Ib study of FX-345, a program for treating the same indication.
Taysha Gene Therapies Inc.’s stock (NASDAQ:TSHA) struggled Feb. 1 following the U.S. FDA’s recommendation that the company dose more patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of TSHA-120 for the ultra-rare indication giant axonal neuropathy.
By applying deep learning methods to a large database of zinc finger nucleases, researchers at the University of Toronto and New York University have developed an algorithm, Zfdesign, that was able to design custom zinc fingers for any given stretch of DNA. “I think this system levels the playing field for zinc fingers and CRISPR,” said Philip Kim, co-corresponding author of the team's paper published online in Nature Biotechnology on Jan. 26, 2023.
Herophilus Inc. is conducting in vivo studies of lead candidate HRP-12975, a small-molecule therapy for Rett syndrome, with funding from the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. The company is generating efficacy and safety data with HRP-12975 using genetic mouse models of Rett syndrome.
Decibel Therapeutics Inc. has received clearance of its clinical trial application (CTA) by the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to initiate a phase I/II trial of gene therapy DB-OTO in pediatric patients with congenital hearing loss due to an otoferlin deficiency.
Neurogene Inc. has received FDA clearance of its IND application for NGN-401 for the treatment of Rett syndrome. The company plans to initiate a phase I/II trial in female pediatric patients with Rett syndrome this year.
Exegenesis Bio (Hangzhou Exegenesis Biotechnology Co. Ltd.) has received FDA clearance of its IND application for EXG-102-031, a recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-based gene therapy that is being studied for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).