LEIDEN, Netherlands & CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ProQR Therapeutics N.V. (Nasdaq:PRQR), a company dedicated to changing lives through the creation of transformative RNA medicines for the treatment of severe genetic rare diseases, today announced that it received Fast Track designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for QR-421a. QR-421a is a first-in-class investigational RNA-based oligonucleotide designed to address the underlying cause of the vision loss associated with Usher syndrome type 2 and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa (RP) due to mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene.
Fast Track designation is granted by FDA to drugs that are under development for serious conditions and have the potential to fulfill an unmet medical need. It was established with the intention to bring promising drugs to patients sooner by facilitating the development with more frequent FDA interactions and expediting the review process.
“We are very pleased with the Fast Track designation the FDA granted us for QR-421a. Patients with Usher syndrome, the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness, currently have no available therapies for their vision loss and this designation emphasizes the high unmet need in this disease,” said Daniel de Boer, Chief Executive Officer of ProQR. “We are also looking forward to begin enrollment in the Phase 1/2 STELLAR clinical trial in the coming months with preliminary data expected in mid-2019.”
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. Mutations in this exon can cause loss of functional usherin protein that causes the disease. QR-421a is designed to exclude the genetic defect from the RNA in the eye, such that it leads to the expression of a shortened but functional usherin protein, thereby modifying the underlying disease. QR-421a has received orphan drug designation in the United States and the European Union.
About Usher Syndrome
Usher syndrome is the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness. Patients with this syndrome generally progress to a stage in which they have very limited central vision and moderate to severe deafness. Usher syndrome type 2 is one of the most common forms of Usher syndrome and is caused by mutations in the USH2A gene. To date, there are no approved treatments or products in clinical development that treat the vision loss associated with Usher syndrome type 2.
ProQR Therapeutics is dedicated to changing lives through the creation of transformative RNA medicines for the treatment of severe genetic rare diseases such as Leber’s congenital amaurosis 10, Usher syndrome type 2 and dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Based on our unique proprietary RNA repair platform technologies we are growing our pipeline with patients and loved ones in mind.