uniQure B.V., a leader in the field of human gene therapy, today announced the start of its Phase I clinical trial in acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) with the treatment of the first patient. The study is conducted under the aegis of the AIPGENE consortium, a pan-European collaboration funded in part by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program with the aim to develop a gene therapy for the treatment of AIP, a rare and devastating disease caused by mutations in the porphobilinogen deaminase gene (PBGD). AIP can be life-threatening and the long-term effects include irreversible nerve damage, liver cancer and kidney failure. uniQure was granted orphan drug designation for the treatment of AIP in 2009 from the European Medicines Agency.
"The start of the AIP Phase I study marks the first of four programs that will enter clinical trials over the next 12 months," says Jörn Aldag, CEO of uniQure. "After AIP we expect clinical trials to be initiated in Parkinson's disease, hemophilia B, and Sanfilippo B. After many years of building and developing our capabilities and competencies, and the approval in November of Glybera for LPLD as the first gene therapy in the Western world, we are highly motivated to expedite the clinical development of our other advanced gene therapies."