DiscGenics receives FDA fast track designation for disc degeneration cell therapy

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Injectable disc cell therapy (IDCT; DiscGenics)

DiscGenics has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted fast track designation for its investigational cell therapy, IDCT, currently being evaluated in regulator-allowed clinical trials in the USA and Japan for the reduction in pain and disability associated with degenerative disc disease (DDD), a major cause of chronic low back pain.

Fast track is a special regulatory designation that companies can apply for once they have sufficient preclinical and clinical evidence that a product may be able to treat an unmet medical need for a serious medical condition. With this designation, sponsors may benefit from early and frequent communication with FDA, eligibility for Accelerated Approval and Priority Review programmes, as well as a Rolling Review application process for marketing licensure.

“We are thrilled to receive Fast Track designation for IDCT as it recognises the extremely compelling preclinical and safety data we have generated for IDCT through our robust research and development and clinical programs, and underscores FDA’s acknowledgement of low back pain as a serious medical condition with a profound lack of treatment options,” said Flagg Flanagan, chairman and CEO of DiscGenics. “This fast track designation reinforces our commitment to working with regulators to identify ways to accelerate development and expedite approval of the therapy within existing regulatory frameworks to make IDCT available to patients as quickly as possible.”

IDCT is a homologous, allogeneic, injectable cell therapy that utilises biomedically engineered progenitor cells, known as Discogenic Cells, that have been derived from intervertebral disc tissue to offer a non-invasive, potentially regenerative solution for the treatment of mild to moderate DDD. As a manufactured allogeneic cell therapy, IDCT is regulated by FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) under Section 351 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). As a result, DiscGenics is adhering to the rigours of a regulated drug pathway that require the Company to not only prove that the product has a therapeutic effect through clinical evaluation, but also that it meets critical safety standards and is produced consistently from lot to lot through adherence to current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) standards for a cell therapy.

DiscGenics is conducting two parallel prospective, randomised, double-blinded, controlled, multicentre clinical trials of IDCT in the USA and Japan. IDCT is being evaluated in the USA under an investigational new drug (IND) allowance by the FDA and will be regulated as a drug-biologic through a biologics license application (BLA). In Japan, the trial is supported by a Clinical Trial Notification (CTN) approved by the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). Primary outcome measures include safety and reduction in pain. Secondary outcome measures include reduction in disability and radiographic improvement. Importantly, the US study has shown safety in the first cohort of patients. For both studies, enrolment is ongoing.

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