· The company has instead identified a novel adherent cell culture approach that can more reliably produce product and has greater surface area to potentially increase productivity relative to Hyperstacks.
· Additional process development improvements, both up- and downstream, were implemented to meet global regulatory GMP expectations as well as to meet projected global patient demand.
· AveXis plans to use the GMP process for all clinical and commercial needs moving forward, including the companys new Rett and ALS programs.
Overall, the company believes there is alignment with the FDA on its panel of analytical methods and the proposed assay qualification/validation plans. Analytical methods are used to assess how reliably and consistently the key product characteristics can be determined in order to ensure patients receive safe and effective product.
In the meeting minutes, the FDA made a request that the company complete implementation of its potency assay qualification plan, presented in the meeting, prior to initiation of upcoming clinical studies. This assay utilizes the Delta 7 mouse model, which has been used historically to assess AVXS-101 potency but now incorporates additional elements to make it acceptable to global regulatory authorities. Specifically, the agency stated, We believe that your potency assay development and qualification plans have the potential to result in an acceptable potency assay, and we are encouraged that the assay includes reference controls that allow for calculation of relative potency and that the assay qualification will include 3 independent runs. However, we do not have enough information to predict the feasibility of your plans.
The company has already initiated the work necessary to address this request and expects to have the data ready to submit to the FDA in the August timeframe. AveXis plans to initiate a pivotal study trial of AVXS-101 in SMA Type 1 in the U.S. and a Phase 1/2a trial of AVXS-101 in SMA Type 2 in the U.S. later in the third quarter of 2017, pending agreement from the FDA that these data are sufficient.
The goal of the CMC meeting was to align with FDA on our commercial manufacturing process, analytical methods and comparability protocol, all three of which we believe were achieved in this collaborative and constructive discussion, said Sean Nolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AveXis. The team has already made progress toward addressing the FDAs request regarding potency assay qualification, and we anticipate only a modest impact to timelines. We are pleased with the outcomes of the meeting and the progress we have made at the AveXis facility, and, most importantly, believe we have a scalable GMP commercial process in place to fulfill future patient demand and a path forward to potentially utilize the Phase 1 data in our regulatory pathway.
Additionally, FDA is aligned with the companys proposed comparability protocol to assess the similarity of key characteristics of the Nationwide Childrens Hospital (NCH) product, used in the Phase 1 SMA Type 1 study, with the product derived from the new GMP manufacturing process. Data from this comparability work is ongoing and will include the above-mentioned potency qualification data, which will be incorporated into the data package along with the full Phase 1 clinical data, that will be reviewed and discussed at the upcoming end-of-Phase 1 meeting, likely to be requested later in August. This meeting will help further inform the regulatory pathway options for AVXS-101. The company anticipates providing an update on the outcome of that meeting once the official minutes are available, which is anticipated to be in the fourth quarter of 2017.