Cyclerion Therapeutics Receives U.S. FDA Orphan Drug Designation for Zagociguat for the Treatment of Mitochondrial Diseases
Zagociguat is the first CNS-penetrant sGC stimulator to be developed as a symptomatic and potentially disease-modifying therapy for serious diseases that involve the CNS. In an open-label, 29-day study in patients with MELAS*, zagociguat treatment was associated with improvements in multiple disease-relevant biomarkers: mitochondrial function, inflammation, cerebral blood flow, functional brain connectivity, and visually evoked brain activation. These data coupled with data from preclinical studies in cells from mitochondrial disease patients and in zebrafish disease models support the potential of zagociguat as a treatment for MELAS/mitochondrial diseases.
“Orphan drug designation underscores the FDA’s recognition of zagociguat’s potential promise as a first-ever therapy for patients with MELAS, a rare, genetic mitochondrial disease,” said
MELAS is a complex orphan disease affecting multiple organ systems, including the CNS, with different degrees of severity, and no approved therapies. MELAS, one of the most common primary mitochondrial diseases (PMDs), is caused by mitochondrial DNA mutations resulting in large clusters of familial cases. It is estimated that about 1 in 4,300 individuals has a mitochondrial disease, and ~80% of individuals with mitochondrial disease have CNS symptoms. The unmet need in MELAS is immense, symptoms can affect virtually any organ and cause intense fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain in addition to neurological manifestations, including stroke-like episodes, encephalomyopathy, seizures, and headaches. Life expectancy is estimated at ~17 years from onset of CNS symptoms. The disease impedes the individual’s ability to live independently and leads to social isolation and overall reduced quality of life.
Zagociguat is the first CNS-penetrant sGC stimulator to be developed as a symptomatic and potentially disease-modifying therapy for serious diseases that involve the CNS. The nitric oxide (NO)-soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC)-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling pathway is a fundamental mechanism that precisely controls key aspects of physiology throughout the body. In the CNS, the NO-sGC-cGMP pathway regulates diverse and critical biological functions including mitochondrial function, neuronal function, inflammation, and vascular dynamics. Although it has been successfully targeted with several drugs in the periphery, this mechanism has yet to be fully leveraged therapeutically in the CNS, where impaired NO-sGC-cGMP signaling is believed to play an important role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. As an sGC stimulator, CY6463 acts as a positive allosteric modulator to sensitize the sGC enzyme to NO, increase the production of cGMP, and thereby amplify endogenous NO signaling. By compensating for deficient NO-sGC-cGMP signaling, CY6463 may have broad therapeutic potential as a treatment to improve cognition and function in people with serious diseases that involve the CNS, including mitochondrial diseases.
Forward Looking Statement
Certain matters discussed in this press release are “forward-looking statements”. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should”, “positive” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, being able to complete clinical studies for zagociguat for the treatment of mitochondrial diseases, including submitting additional regulatory applications in other countries; ability to demonstrate effectiveness of zagociguat in treating mitochondrial disease in patients; ability to maintain and expand related intellectual property portfolio; and statements regarding the timing of regulatory filings regarding development programs. The factors discussed herein could cause actual results and developments to be materially different from those expressed in or implied by such statements. The forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this press release and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstance.
* MELAS (Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes syndrome)
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Source: Cyclerion Therapeutics, Inc.