Current standard of care relies on regular red blood cell transfusions and iron management that carry the risk of progressive multi-organ damage and increased risk of morbidity and mortality
If approved, beti-cel will be the first potentially curative gene therapy option for people with beta-thalassemia who require regular red blood cell transfusions and the first ex-vivo LVV gene therapy available in the
PDUFA goal date is set for
On the question “Do the benefits of beti-cel outweigh the risks for the treatment of subjects with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia?” the CTGTAC voted 13 (yes) to 0 (no).
“Despite advances in care, people living with the most severe form of beta-thalassemia still require frequent transfusions of healthy red blood cells to survive, tethering them to the healthcare system for life and increasing their risk for severe complications and early death,” said
Beta-thalassemia is a rare genetic blood disease caused by mutations in the beta-globin gene and is characterized by significantly reduced or absent adult hemoglobin production. Patients with the most severe form experience severe anemia and lifelong dependence on red blood cell transfusions, a lengthy process that patients typically undergo every 2-5 weeks. Despite advances in treatment and improved transfusion techniques, transfusions only temporarily address symptoms of anemia and people with beta-thalassemia who require regular transfusions have an increased risk for morbidity and mortality due to treatment- and disease-related iron overload and its complications. Data from the Cooley’s
The advisory committee’s recommendation is based on the Biologics License Application (BLA) currently under priority review by the FDA with a decision goal date set for
“We are pleased that the advisory committee recognized the significant potential of LVV gene therapies to address severe unmet medical needs – demonstrated over more than a decade of research and more than 500 patient-years of experience – as well as the urgent need for improved treatments,” said
In addition to granting the beti-cel BLA priority review, the FDA previously granted beti-cel Orphan Drug status and Breakthrough Therapy designation. bluebird bio is eligible to receive a priority review voucher upon potential approval of beti-cel.
Beta-thalassemia is a severe genetic blood disease caused by mutations in the beta-globin gene and is characterized by significantly reduced or absent adult hemoglobin production. This can result in severe anemia and lifelong dependence on red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Patients who require regular RBC transfusions to maintain adequate Hb levels typically undergo the 4-7-hour process every 2-5 weeks. While transfusions temporarily relieve symptoms associated with severe anemia, including fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath, they do not address the underlying genetic cause of beta-thalassemia and can lead to unavoidable iron overload and serious complications, including progressive multi-organ damage and organ failure. Iron overload resulting from beta-thalassemia or ongoing RBC transfusions requires chronic treatment with chelation therapy; even with chelation therapy, some patients remain significantly iron overloaded, and only 63% of patients are adherent, due in part to tolerability issues. Despite advances in treatment and improved transfusion techniques, people with beta-thalassemia who require regular transfusions have an increased risk for morbidity and mortality.
About betibeglogene autotemcel (beti-cel)
betibeglogene autotemcel (beti-cel) (pronounced BEH tee cell) is a one-time gene therapy custom-designed to treat the underlying cause of beta-thalassemia in patients who require regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. beti-cel adds functional copies of a modified form of the beta-globin gene (βA-T87Q-globin gene) into a patient’s own hematopoietic (blood) stem cells (HSCs) in order to correct the deficiency of adult hemoglobin that is the hallmark of beta-thalassemia. Once a patient has the βA-T87Q-globin gene, they have the potential to produce beti-cel-derived adult hemoglobin (HbAT87Q) at levels that may eliminate the need for transfusions. As of the data cutoff date (
beti-cel is manufactured using the BB305 lentiviral vector (LVV), a third-generation, self-inactivating LVV that has been studied for more than a decade across two therapeutic areas.
Adverse reactions considered related to beti-cel were infrequent and consisted primarily of non-serious infusion-related reactions that occurred on the day of infusion (e.g., abdominal pain, hot flush, dyspnea, tachycardia and non-cardiac chest pain) and cytopenias (e.g., thrombocytopenia, leukopenia and neutropenia). One of these adverse reactions was a serious adverse event (SAE) of thrombocytopenia considered possibly related to beti-cel and has resolved.
The majority of AEs and SAEs in the beti-cel clinical development program were unrelated to beti-cel and largely reflect the known side effects of HSC collection and busulfan conditioning regimen (including several SAEs of veno-occlusive disease that resolved with treatment).
The Phase 3
About bluebird bio, Inc.
bluebird bio is pursuing curative gene therapies to give patients and their families more bluebird days.
With a dedicated focus on severe genetic diseases, bluebird has industry-leading clinical and research programs for sickle cell disease, beta-thalassemia and cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy and is advancing research to apply new technologies to these and other diseases. We custom design each of our therapies to address the underlying cause of disease and have developed in-depth and effective analytical methods to understand the safety of our lentiviral vector technologies and drive the field of gene therapy forward.
Founded in 2010, bluebird has the largest and deepest ex-vivo gene therapy data set in the world—setting the standard for industry. Today, bluebird continues to forge new paths, combining our real-world experience with a deep commitment to patient communities and a people-centric culture that attracts and grows a diverse flock of dedicated birds.
For more information, visit bluebirdbio.com or follow us on social media at @bluebirdbio, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
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Courtney O’Leary, 978-621-7347
Source: bluebird bio, Inc.