Positive Results From Pivotal Trials of exa-cel for Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia and Severe Sickle Cell Disease Presented at the 2023 Annual European Hematology Association (EHA) Congress
- Both trials met the primary and key secondary endpoints at the pre-specified interim analysis -
- Data continue to demonstrate transformative and durable benefit -
- Safety profile consistent with busulfan conditioning and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant -
“The updated results from both the TDT and SCD trials are remarkable and bring the promise of an autologous CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited cell therapy one-step closer to patients who are waiting,” said
“This analysis confirms the potential of exa-cel to render patients transfusion-independent or VOC-free, with significant improvement in their quality of life and physical performance,” said
New Data From Pre-Specified Interim Analyses in exa-cel Pivotal Trials
Both CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121 met their primary endpoint and key secondary endpoint at the pre-specified interim analysis for each trial. These analyses evaluated the efficacy and safety of exa-cel in patients with TDT or SCD in the ongoing Phase 3 trials as well as in the long-term follow up trial CLIMB-131. The data shared are from 83 patients (48 with TDT and 35 with SCD) dosed with exa-cel with follow-up up to 43.7 months. All patients treated with exa-cel demonstrated clinical benefit, and these data continue to demonstrate the potentially transformative profile of exa-cel.
Efficacy of exa-cel in Patients With Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia
Of the 48 patients with TDT who had received exa-cel at the time of the analysis, more than half (58.3%) have genotypes associated with severe disease, beta-zero/beta-zero or other beta-zero-like severe genotypes. At the time of the data cut, 27 TDT patients were evaluable for the primary and key secondary endpoint.
24/27 (88.9%) achieved the primary endpoint of transfusion-independence for at least 12 consecutive months (TI12) and the secondary endpoint of transfusion-independence for at least 6 consecutive months (TI6) with a mean weighted hemoglobin of at least 9 g/dL (95% CI: 70.8%, 97.6%; P<0.0001). Mean duration of transfusion-independence was 20.5 months with a maximum of 40.7 months.
- Of the 3 patients who did not achieve TI12, one patient has since stopped transfusions and has been transfusion-free for 2.9 months; the remaining 2 patients have had substantial reductions (80% and 96%) in transfusion volume from baseline.
- Increases in total hemoglobin occurred early within the first few months and were maintained over time. In the analysis of all patients who received exa-cel, mean total hemoglobin was ≥11g/dL at Month 3 and ≥12g/dL from Month 6 onward with pancellular distribution of fetal hemoglobin.
- Mean proportion of edited BCL11A alleles was stable over time in bone marrow and peripheral blood indicating successful permanent editing in the long-term hematopoietic stem cells.
- Patients also had clinically significant improvements in patient-reported outcomes.
Efficacy of exa-cel in Patients With Severe Sickle Cell Disease
Of the 35 patients with SCD who had received exa-cel at the time of the analysis, 17 patients were evaluable for the primary and key secondary endpoint at the time of the data cut.
16/17 (94.1%) achieved the primary endpoint of freedom from vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) for at least 12 consecutive months (VF12) (95% CI: 71.3%, 99.9%; P=0.0001). Mean duration of VOC-free was 18.7 months, with a maximum of 36.5 months. 17/17 (100%) achieved the key secondary endpoint of being free from hospitalizations related to VOCs for at least 12 consecutive months (HF12) (95% CI: 80.5%, 100.0%; P<0.0001).
- The one patient who did not achieve VF12 did achieve HF12 and has a complex set of comorbidities, including a history of chronic pain.
- One patient who achieved VF12 had a VOC 22.8 months following exa-cel infusion in the setting of a parvovirus infection. This patient has since fully recovered from the infection and been VOC-free.
- Increases in fetal hemoglobin and total hemoglobin occurred early, within the first few months, and were maintained over time. In the analysis of all patients who received exa-cel, mean fetal hemoglobin was more than 30% of total hemoglobin by Month 3 and was then maintained at approximately 40.0% through follow-up, with pancellular distribution.
- Mean proportion of edited BCL11A alleles was stable over time in bone marrow and peripheral blood, indicating successful permanent editing in the long-term hematopoietic stem cells.
- Patients also had clinically significant improvements in patient-reported outcomes.
Safety of exa-cel in All Patients
The safety profile of exa-cel was generally consistent with myeloablative conditioning with busulfan and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant. All patients engrafted neutrophils and platelets after exa-cel infusion.
As previously reported, two TDT patients had serious adverse events (SAEs) considered related to exa-cel. One patient had three SAEs considered related to exa-cel: hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), acute respiratory distress syndrome and headache, and one SAE of idiopathic pneumonia syndrome that was considered related to both exa-cel and busulfan. All four SAEs occurred in the context of HLH in the peri-engraftment period and have resolved. One patient had SAEs of delayed neutrophil engraftment and thrombocytopenia, both of which were considered related to exa-cel and busulfan, and both SAEs have resolved. Among the 35 patients with SCD, there were no SAEs considered related to exa-cel.
Also as previously reported, one adult patient with SCD developed pneumonia and respiratory failure following SARS-CoV-2 infection, resulting in death. The investigator assessed the events as not related to exa-cel. There were no other deaths or discontinuations, and there have been no malignancies in either study.
These data will be shared as outlined below:
Abstract S270 will be an oral presentation entitled “Transfusion Independence and Elimination of Vaso-Occlusive Crises After Exagamglogene Autotemcel For Transfusion-Dependent Βeta-Thalassemia and Severe Sickle Cell Disease,” on
In addition, three health economics abstracts from
- Abstract P1452 is entitled “Mortality and Clinical Complications Among Patients With Transfusion-Dependent Beta-Thalassemia in Italy.”
- Abstract P1447 is entitled “Mortality and Clinical Complications Among Patients With Sickle Cell Disease With Recurrent Vaso-Occlusive Crises in Italy.”
- Abstract P1464 is entitled “Clinical Complications Among Patients With Transfusion-Dependent Beta-Thalassemia in Germany.”
About exagamglogene autotemcel (exa-cel)
Exa-cel is an investigational, autologous, ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited cell therapy that is being evaluated for patients with SCD or TDT, in which a patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells are edited to produce high levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF; hemoglobin F) in red blood cells. HbF is the form of the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin that is naturally present during fetal development, which then switches to the adult form of hemoglobin after birth. The elevation of HbF by exa-cel has the potential to reduce or eliminate painful and debilitating VOCs for patients with SCD and alleviate transfusion requirements for patients with TDT. Earlier results from these ongoing trials were published in
Exa-cel has been granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT), Fast Track, Orphan Drug, and Rare Pediatric Disease designations from the
In the EU, exa-cel has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the
About CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121
The ongoing Phase 1/2/3 open-label trials, CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121, are designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a single dose of exa-cel in patients ages 12 to 35 years with TDT or with SCD, characterized by recurrent VOCs, respectively. The trials are now closed for enrollment. Patients will be followed for approximately two years after exa-cel infusion. Each patient will be asked to participate in CLIMB-131, a long-term follow-up trial.
The ongoing long-term, open-label trial, CLIMB-131, is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of exa-cel in patients who received exa-cel in CLIMB-111, CLIMB-121, CLIMB-141, CLIMB-151 or CLIMB-161. The trial is designed to follow participants for up to 15 years after exa-cel infusion.
About CLIMB-141 and CLIMB-151
The ongoing Phase 3 open-label trials, CLIMB-141 and CLIMB-151, are designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a single dose of exa-cel in patients ages 2 to 11 years with TDT or with SCD, characterized by recurrent VOCs, respectively. The trials are now open for enrollment and currently enrolling patients ages 5 to 11 years with the plan to extend to ages 2 to less than 5 years at a later date. Each trial will enroll approximately 15 patients. Patients will be followed for approximately two years after infusion. Each patient will be asked to participate in CLIMB-131, a long-term follow-up trial.
The ongoing Phase 3b trial, CLIMB-161, is to support expansion of our manufacturing footprint after initial potential approval and launch. This trial will enroll approximately 12 patients with either TDT or with SCD, characterized by recurrent VOCs, ages 12 to 35 years. Patients will be followed for approximately one year after infusion. Each patient will be asked to participate in CLIMB-131, a long-term follow-up trial.
About the Gene-Editing Process in These Trials
Patients who enroll in these trials will have their own hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells collected from peripheral blood. The patient’s cells will be edited using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The edited cells, exa-cel, will then be infused back into the patient as part of an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), a process which involves a patient being treated with myeloablative busulfan conditioning. Patients undergoing HSCT may also encounter side effects (ranging from mild to severe) that are unrelated to the administration of exa-cel. Patients will initially be monitored to determine when the edited cells begin to produce mature blood cells, a process known as engraftment. After engraftment, patients will continue to be monitored to track the impact of exa-cel on multiple measures of disease and for safety.
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