Bluebird’s Beta-Thalassemia Gene Therapy Faces US Panel Scrutiny On Hematologic Malignancy Risk
Although there were no cases of hematological malignancy reported and no evidence of insertional oncogenesis in patients treated with beti-cel, FDA raises a theoretical risk due to delayed platelet engraftment, as well as malignancies seen in other lentiviral vector programs.
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Surprise denial of rare pediatric disease priority review voucher could prompt calls for the agency to re-examine how it interprets the term ‘active ingredient’ for gene therapies. Bluebird asserts there are significant differences between its gene therapies for treating sickle cell and beta-thalassemia.
Agency grants same-day approval to the first two gene therapies for sickle cell disease; bluebird’s lentiviral-based lovo-cel carries a boxed label warning on hematologic malignancies, while Vertex’s CRISPR-Cas9 exa-cel carries a warning and precaution about potential off-target effects. Only the Vertex product qualified for a rare pediatric disease priority review voucher.
Gene Therapy: Bluebird’s Beti-Cel Sails Through US Panel Review On Strength of ‘Impressive’ Efficacy
Treatment is a potential game-changer for patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia, committee members said; panel was hesitant to extrapolate the hematological malignancies seen with bluebird’s other lentiviral vector programs to beti-cel.