The gold standard for any new therapy in the U.S. is approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This approval clears the therapy for sale and often also means it will be covered by insurance. But along the way there are other designations that can mean a lot to a company developing a new approach to a deadly disease.
That’s what recently happened with Mustang Bio’s MB-107. The therapy was given Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) also known as “bubble baby disease”, a rare but deadly immune disorder affecting children. This is the same therapy that CIRM is funding in a clinical trial we’ve blogged about in the past.
Getting Orphan Drug Designation can be a big deal. It is given to therapies intended for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases or disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. It comes with some sweet incentives, such as tax credits toward the cost of clinical trials and prescription drug user fee waivers. And, if the product becomes the first in its class to get FDA approval for a particular disease, it is entitled to seven years of market exclusivity, which is independent from intellectual property protection.
This is not the first time Mustang Bio’s MB-107 has been acknowledged as a potential gamechanger. It’s also been given three other classifications both here in the US and in Europe.
- Rare Pediatric Disease Designation: this also applies to treatments for diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US that have the potential to provide clinically meaningful benefits to patients. It provides the company with a “voucher” that they can use to apply for priority review for another therapy they are developing. The hope is that this will encourage companies to develop treatments for rare childhood diseases that might not otherwise be profitable.
- Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation: this allows for faster, more streamlined approvals of regenerative medicine products
- Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product classification: this is granted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to medicines that are based on genes, tissues or cells and can offer groundbreaking opportunities for the treatment of disease.
Of course, none of these designations are a guarantee that Mustang Bio’s MB-107 will ultimately get FDA approval, but they’re a pretty good indication that a lot of people have confidence they’ll get there.