NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RCKT) (“Rocket”), a clinical-stage company advancing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies for rare childhood disorders, today announces that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded Rocket a $3.7 million CLIN2 grant award to support the clinical development of its lentiviral vector (LVV)-based gene therapy, RP-L401, for the treatment of Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis (IMO), a rare, severe monogenic bone resorption disorder characterized by skeletal deformities, neurologic abnormalities and bone marrow failure. The CIRM was founded in 2004 following the passing of Proposition 71 or the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which allowed $3 billion in state funding for stem cell research conducted in California. This will be Rocket’s second CIRM grant after receiving one in 2019 for the development of the company’s gene therapy for Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I (LAD-I).
“We’re grateful the CIRM has recognized the promise of RP-L401 for IMO, a devastating pediatric rare disease for which the primary treatment option is allogeneic bone marrow transplant,” said Jonathan Schwartz, M.D. Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Rocket. “RP-L401 could be a potentially curative treatment for this devastating disorder that affects children at a young age, and we are thankful to have this meaningful support from the CIRM to move our program forward for these families.”
Rocket’s Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for RP-L401 was accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June of 2020, and the gene therapy received Fast Track designation from the FDA in August 2020. Proceeds from the grant will help fund clinical trial costs, as well as provide manufactured drug product for Phase 1 patients enrolled at the U.S. clinical trial site, University of California, Los Angeles, led by principal investigator Donald B. Kohn, M.D., Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology), Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, and member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. The non-randomized, open-label Phase 1 clinical trial will enroll two pediatric patients, one month of age or older. The trial is designed to assess safety and tolerability of RP-L401, as well as preliminary efficacy, including potential improvements in bone abnormalities/density, hematologic status and endocrine abnormalities. Further information about the clinical program is available here.
About Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis
Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis (IMO) is a rare, severe autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the TCIRG1 gene, which is critical for the process of bone resorption. Mutations in TCIRG1 interfere with the function of osteoclasts, cells which are essential for normal bone remodeling and growth, leading to skeletal malformations, including fractures and cranial deformities which cause neurologic abnormalities including vision and hearing loss. Patients often have endocrine abnormalities and progressive, frequently fatal bone marrow failure. As a result, death is common within the first decade of life. IMO has an estimated incidence of 1 in 200,000. The only treatment option currently available for IMO is an