NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: More than 30 million people in the United States suffer with a rare disease; most of them are receiving no current treatment. Supporting the development and evaluation of new treatments, particularly for rare diseases, is a key priority for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. As part of that process, the agency can grant Orphan Drug Designation (“ODD”) to a drug or biological product being developed to prevent, diagnose or treat a rare disease or condition. This designation is intended to spark innovation among biotech companies that are developing treatments for these patient populations, which by definition affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S., by providing incentives such as tax credits, user-fee exemptions and up to seven years of market exclusivity after FDA approval. Last month, Genprex Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX) (Profile) was granted FDA orphan drug designation for its REQORSA(R) immunogene therapy in development for the treatment of small cell lung cancer (“SCLC”). The Phase 1/2 clinical trial, expected to dose the first patient in the fourth quarter of 2023, uses a combination of REQORSA and Genentech Inc.’s Tecentriq(R) as maintenance therapy in patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer (“ES-SCLC”) who did not develop tumor progression after receiving Tecentriq and chemotherapy as initial standard treatment. Genprex joins other companies — including Roche Holding AG ADR (OTCQX: RHHBY), Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: JAZZ), ALX Oncology Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXO) and Achilles Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: ACHL) — that have been granted ODD status or may seek ODD status as they work to develop treatments for rare diseases.
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