SSH To Present at FDA Hearing Thursday on RPE65 Genetic Therapy Drug

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Sofia Sees Hope Co-Founder Laura Manfre will help provide the LCA community’s perspective to a Food & Drug Administration panel Thursday about a proposed genetic therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis caused by an RPE65 gene mutation.

“This is such an important event because it allows the patient population — the parents, and children and families — directly impacted by this very important decision-making process to be heard,” Manfre said. “The FDA has a critical job to do in weighing all of the potential risks and benefits with any drug approval, and they recognize that the voice and the experiences of those who are affected needs to be a part of that process.

“Part of Sofia Sees Hope’s mission is to help serve as a connection among families living with LCA,” Manfre continued. “We see this opportunity to offer testimony as another way to fulfill that mission.”  

As a presenter at the FDA’s public advisory meeting of the Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee (CTGTAC), Manfre will be representing patients and families living with LCA and other rare inherited retinal diseases. The meeting begins at 8:30 Thursday  morning and runs to 5 p.m. at the FDA White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD.

The CTGTAC is meeting to make recommendations on the safety and effectiveness of biologics license application for voretigene neparvovec, submitted by Spark Therapeutics, Inc. The proposed gene therapy is to treat patients with vision loss due to confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated dystrophy.

RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy is an orphan disease, with an estimated 1,000-3,000 patients affected in the United States, according to A Shared Vision.

Manfre said research and bringing therapies to market provides hope to all LCA and IRD families.

“Though families may struggle with the day-to-day challenges, they can have hope that there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

“To help foster this effort,” she said, “Patients and families need to seek diagnoses,  participate in patient registries, and continue to generate awareness and make our voices heard.  Our disease is rare, which makes it more important than ever that we are working together to be advocate for our community and  to move treatment and cures for blindness forward.”

For the meeting, Spark submitted to the FDA a 149-page briefing detailing the history, background, studies and research that went into developing voretigene neparvovec, which has the proposed trade name LUXTURNA.

The FDA’s 42-page briefing details its analysis of the proposed treatment and offers discussion questions for the advisory committee that include at what age should patients receive treatment and what are the treatment’s potential risks and benefits.

Here are some links for more information about the meeting:

Eye experts:


Webcast of the meeting:



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