FDA Puts Clinical Hold on CRISPR and Vertex’s IND Application for CTX001 for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease

BOSTON and ZUG, Switzerland and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed a clinical hold on the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for CTX001 for the treatment of sickle cell disease pending the resolution of certain questions that will be provided by the FDA as part of its review of the IND.  The IND was submitted to the FDA in April to support the planned initiation of a Phase 1/2 trial in the U.S. in adult patients with sickle cell disease.  CRISPR and Vertex expect to obtain additional information on the FDA’s questions in the near future and plan to work rapidly with the FDA toward a resolution.

CTX001 is an investigational, gene-edited autologous hematopoietic stem cell therapy for patients suffering from β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease (SCD). The planned initiation of a Phase 1/2 trial of CTX001 in Europe in adult patients with transfusion dependent β-thalassemia is unchanged, and the companies expect to initiate the trial in the second half of 2018.

About CTX001
CTX001 is an investigational ex vivo CRISPR gene-edited therapy for patients suffering from β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease in which a patient’s hematopoietic stem cells are engineered to produce high levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF; hemoglobin F) in red blood cells. HbF is a form of the oxygen carrying hemoglobin that is naturally present at birth, and is then replaced by the adult form of hemoglobin. The elevation of HbF by CTX001 has the potential to alleviate transfusion-requirements for β-thalassemia patients and painful and debilitating sickle crises for sickle cell patients.

CTX001 is being developed under a co-development and co-commercialization agreement between CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex.

About the CRISPR-Vertex Collaboration 
CRISPR and Vertex entered into a strategic research collaboration in 2015 aimed at the discovery and development of gene editing treatments using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology to correct defects in specific gene targets known to cause or contribute to particular diseases. Vertex has exclusive rights to license up to six new CRISPR/Cas9-based treatments that emerge from the collaboration, and CTX001 represents the first treatment to emerge from the joint research program. For CTX001, CRISPR and Vertex will equally share all research and development costs and profits worldwide.

About CRISPR Therapeutics
CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolutionary gene editing technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The Company has established a portfolio of therapeutic programs across a broad range of disease areas including hemoglobinopathies, oncology and rare diseases. To accelerate and expand its efforts, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with leading companies including Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and business offices in London, United Kingdom. For more information, please visit www.crisprtx.com.

About Vertex
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition to clinical development programs in CF, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs focused on the underlying mechanisms of other serious diseases.

Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex’s headquarters is now located in Boston’sInnovation District. Today, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry’s top places to work, including being named to Science magazine’s Top Employers in the life sciences ranking for eight years in a row.

For additional information and the latest updates from the company, please visit www.vrtx.com.

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