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Ocugen Announces Positive Data and Safety Monitoring Board Review and Initiation of Enrollment in Medium Dose for OCU410ST—a Modifier Gene Therapy—in GARDian Study for Stargardt Disease

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Ocugen, Inc. announces that the Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) has approved proceeding with the medium dose of OCU410ST in the OCU410ST clinical trial for Stargardt disease. The favorable safety and tolerability profile of OCU410ST allows for evaluation of higher doses, addressing the unmet medical need for Stargardt patients.
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The DSMB's approval for Ocugen to proceed with the medium dose of OCU410ST is a positive development in the clinical trial process. It indicates that the initial low dose was well-tolerated by patients, which is a key consideration in escalating doses within such trials. This step is significant as it suggests the potential for OCU410ST to progress through the clinical stages, which could eventually lead to a marketable treatment for Stargardt disease.

From a research perspective, the lack of reported serious adverse events (SAEs) is a promising sign of the drug's safety profile at this stage. However, it is important to note that the sample size is still very small and safety and efficacy must be demonstrated in larger, more diverse populations before any conclusions can be drawn. The interim safety data expected in the second quarter will be critical in evaluating the viability of OCU410ST and its market potential.

Stargardt disease, being an orphan disease, represents a niche market with a relatively small patient population. Nonetheless, the absence of FDA-approved therapies for Stargardt disease underscores the high unmet medical need, which can justify the investment in the drug's development despite the smaller market size. If successful, OCU410ST could become a first-in-class therapy, potentially allowing Ocugen to set a premium price for the drug.

Investors often monitor clinical trial updates closely, as they can significantly impact a biotech company's stock price. The progression to the medium dose cohort in the OCU410ST trial is likely to be viewed favorably by the market, given that it reflects confidence in the drug's safety profile at the previous lower dose. This news could potentially lead to an uptick in Ocugen's stock as investors anticipate positive outcomes from future trial phases.

However, it's important to balance optimism with caution, as the costs associated with advancing clinical trials are substantial and the company will likely incur increasing expenses as it moves through Phase 2 and potentially into further stages. Investors should also consider the risk of dilution if Ocugen requires additional capital to fund its operations and research. The potential for strategic partnerships or licensing deals may also come into play as the drug progresses, which could offset some of the financial risks.

Given that Ocugen's pipeline success is critical for its financial health, the outcome of the OCU410ST trial could have a long-term strategic impact on the company's growth and position in the market for treatments for inherited retinal diseases.

The biotechnology sector is highly competitive, with many companies vying for a share of the market in rare and orphan diseases. Ocugen's advancement in the OCU410ST trial positions it as a potential key player in the space for Stargardt disease treatments. The company's strategy to focus on an unmet medical need could pay off by securing a first-mover advantage in this area.

Market dynamics in the biotech sector are influenced by such clinical trial milestones and Ocugen's announcement may attract attention from larger pharmaceutical companies interested in expanding their portfolios in rare diseases. This could lead to potential acquisition interest or collaboration opportunities, which are common exit strategies for smaller biotech firms.

For patients and healthcare providers, the development of OCU410ST is significant. A successful treatment option for Stargardt disease would not only provide clinical benefits but could also reduce long-term healthcare costs associated with managing the disease's progression. This aspect could be a compelling factor for insurance companies and healthcare systems when considering the adoption and coverage of new therapies.

  • Established Low Dose as Safe and Tolerable Dose in Current OCU410ST Clinical Trial
  • DSMB Determination to Proceed with Medium Dose Cohort Dosing

MALVERN, Pa., April 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocugen, Inc. (Ocugen or the Company) (NASDAQ: OCGN), a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel gene and cell therapies and vaccines, today announced that the Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the OCU410ST clinical trial recently convened and approved to proceed dosing with the medium dose of OCU410ST in the dose-escalation phase of the study.

Three patients with Stargardt disease were dosed in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial to date. An additional three patients will be dosed with the medium dose (Cohort 2) and three patients with the high dose (Cohort 3) of OCU410ST in the dose-escalation phase.

“The DSMB has recommended moving forward to medium dose for dosing subjects with Stargardt disease,” said Dr. Peter Chang, MD, FACS, DSMB Chair for the OCU410ST clinical trial. “No serious adverse events (SAEs) related to OCU410ST have been reported to date. I believe that this marks a critical next step towards determining the optimal dosing regimen for OCU410ST.”

“We are pleased to see the continued favorable safety and tolerability profile exhibited by OCU410ST, allowing us to evaluate a higher dose in patients with Stargardt retinal dystrophy,” said Huma Qamar, M.D., MPH, Chief Medical Officer of Ocugen. “We recognize the high unmet medical need for Stargardt patients, as there are no current FDA-approved therapies for the indication, and we look forward to sharing the interim safety data from our Phase 1 trial in the second quarter of 2024.”

The GARDian clinical trial will assess the safety and efficacy of unilateral subretinal administration of OCU410ST in subjects with Stargardt disease and will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 is a multicenter, open-label, dose ranging study consisting of three dose levels [low dose (3.75×1010 vg/mL), medium dose (7.5×1010 vg/mL), and high dose (2.25×1011 vg/mL)]. Phase 2 is a randomized, outcome accessor-blinded, dose-expansion study in which adult and pediatric subjects will be randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to either one of two OCU410ST dose groups or to an untreated. The Company will continue to provide clinical updates.

Ocugen is committed to finding solutions for people with inherited retinal disease for whom no effective treatment options exist. While an orphan disease, Stargardt affects approximately 40,000 people in the United States alone.

About Stargardt Disease

Stargardt disease is a genetic eye disorder that causes retinal degeneration and vision loss. Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited macular degeneration. The progressive vision loss associated with Stargardt disease is caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the central portion of the retina called the macula.

Decreased central vision due to loss of photoreceptors in the macula is the hallmark of Stargardt disease. Some peripheral vision is usually preserved. Stargardt disease typically develops during childhood or adolescence, but the age of onset and rate of progression can vary. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells supporting photoreceptors, is also affected in people with Stargardt disease.

About OCU410ST

OCU410ST utilizes an AAV delivery platform for the retinal delivery of the RORA (RAR Related Orphan Receptor A) gene. It represents Ocugen’s modifier gene therapy approach, which is based on Nuclear Hormone Receptor (NHR) RORA that regulates pathway links to Stargardt disease such as lipofuscin formation, oxidative stress, compliment formation, inflammation, and cell survival networks.

About Ocugen, Inc.
Ocugen, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel gene and cell therapies and vaccines that improve health and offer hope for patients across the globe. We are making an impact on patient’s lives through courageous innovation—forging new scientific paths that harness our unique intellectual and human capital. Our breakthrough modifier gene therapy platform has the potential to treat multiple retinal diseases with a single product, and we are advancing research in infectious diseases to support public health and orthopedic diseases to address unmet medical needs. Discover more at www.ocugen.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “proposed,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should,” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to numerous important factors, risks, and uncertainties that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from our current expectations. These and other risks and uncertainties are more fully described in our periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the risk factors described in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the quarterly and annual reports that we file with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements that we make in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this press release whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, after the date of this press release.

Contact:
Tiffany Hamilton
Head of Communications
IR@ocugen.com 


FAQ

What did the DSMB approve in the OCU410ST clinical trial?

The DSMB approved proceeding with the medium dose of OCU410ST in the OCU410ST clinical trial for Stargardt disease.

How many patients were dosed in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial?

Three patients with Stargardt disease were dosed in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial.

What is the purpose of the GARDian clinical trial?

The GARDian clinical trial will assess the safety and efficacy of unilateral subretinal administration of OCU410ST in subjects with Stargardt disease.

How many people in the United States are affected by Stargardt disease?

Stargardt disease affects approximately 40,000 people in the United States alone.

Who is the Chief Medical Officer of Ocugen?

Huma Qamar, M.D., MPH, is the Chief Medical Officer of Ocugen.

Ocugen, Inc.

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ocugen, inc., is a rapidly growing ophthalmology company developing a rich clinical pipeline of innovative therapies that address rare and underserved ocular disorders. the company’s lead programs in ocular graft versus host disease (ocu300) and chronic dry eye disease (ocu310) are expected to enter pivotal clinical trials in 2018. ocu300 received the first and only orphan drug designation for ocular graft versus host disease, providing certain regulatory and economic benefits. ocugen is also developing novel biologic therapies for retinitis pigmentosa (ocu100) and wet amd (ocu200), as well as a groundbreaking modifier gene therapy platform with potential to address a broad spectrum of inherited retinal disorders (ocu400). for more information, please visit www.ocugen.com.