Carlsbad-based company, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the U.S. FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation to IONIS-HTTRx for the treatment of patients with Huntington’s disease (HD). IONIS-HTTRx is the first therapy to enter clinical development that is designed to directly target the cause of the disease by reducing the production of the protein responsible for HD. IONIS-HTTRx has also been granted orphan drug designation by theEuropean Medicines Agency for the treatment of patients with HD. Roche and Ionis are collaborating to develop antisense drugs to treat HD.
HD is a rare genetic neurological disease in which patients experience deterioration of both mental abilities and physical control. Although the toxic protein produced from the huntingtin (HTT) gene in HD patients has been a target of interest for many years, IONIS-HTTRx is the first therapy to enter clinical development that is designed to treat the underlying cause of this fatal disease.