ProQR Therapeutics announced that it received Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) designation from the FDA for QR-421a for the treatment of patients with retinitis pigmentosa caused by mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene.
QR-421a is a first-in-class investigational RNA-based oligonucleotide designed to address the underlying cause of vision loss in Usher syndrome type 2 and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa due to mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene.
The RPD designation provides priority review by the FDA to encourage treatments for rare pediatric diseases. Under the RPD program, a sponsor who receives an approval for a drug or biologic for a “rare pediatric disease” may qualify for a voucher that can be redeemed to receive a priority review by the FDA for any subsequent marketing application for a different product. Such a voucher is transferrable and may be sold.
“We are pleased to have received the second rare pediatric designation for our clinical stage development programs,” Daniel A. de Boer, chief executive officer of ProQR, said in a company news release. “Both sepofarsen for LCA10, the most common cause of blindness due to genetic disease in children, and QR-421a have received rare pediatric designation, underscoring the high unmet need for patients. We aim to make a difference for these patients as we work to advance our pipeline of programs to treat inherited retinal diseases.”
QR-421a is a first-in-class investigational RNA-based oligonucleotide designed to address the underlying cause of vision loss in Usher syndrome type 2 and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa (RP) due to mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene. QR-421a is designed to restore functional Usherin protein by using an exon skipping approach with the aim to stop or reverse vision loss in patients. QR-421a is intended to be administered through intravitreal injections in the eye and has been granted orphan drug designation in the US and the European Union and received fast-track and Rare Pediatric Disease designations from the FDA.