Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense, announced today that the European Commission, acting on the positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP), has granted orphan drug designation to synthetic hypericin (the active pharmaceutical ingredient in SGX301) for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), a rare disease and a class of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer of the white blood cells that are an integral part of the immune system. SGX301 has previously been granted both orphan drug and fast track designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first-line treatment of CTCL.
Soligenix is currently working with leading CTCL centers, as well as with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation (CLF) to begin a 120 subject pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial with SGX301 in the second half of 2015. SGX301 is a novel, first-in-class, photodynamic therapy utilizing safe, visible light for activation. Synthetic hypericin is a potent photosensitizer which is topically applied to skin lesions and activated by visible fluorescent light. This treatment approach avoids the risk of secondary malignancies (including melanoma) inherent with the frequently employed DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic drugs and other photodynamic therapies that are dependent on ultraviolet exposure. Topical hypericin has demonstrated safety in a Phase 1 clinical study in healthy volunteers. In a Phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in CTCL patients, the drug was safe and well tolerated, with 58.3% of the CTCL patients responding to SGX301 treatment compared to only 8.3% receiving placebo (p ≤ 0.04).
The European Commission grants orphan designations for medicines that treat a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting no more than five in 10,000 persons in the EU and where no satisfactory treatment is available. In addition to a 10-year period of marketing exclusivity in the EU after product approval, orphan drug designation provides incentives for companies seeking protocol assistance from the EMA during the product development phase, and direct access to the centralized authorization procedure.
"We are extremely pleased to have received European orphan drug designation for the SGX301 program," stated Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President & Chief Executive Officer of Soligenix, Inc. "This EU orphan designation, combined with our US orphan and fast track designations, positions SGX301 for an accelerated global regulatory product development pathway to address the significant unmet need that exists for this important indication. We look forward to aggressively advancing our pivotal Phase 3 study of SGX301 in CTCL."