press release tileTxCell SA, a biotechnology company developing innovative, personalized T cell immunotherapies using antigen specific regulatory T-cells (Ag-Tregs) for severe chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Orphan Products Development has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) to TxCell’s Col-Treg, a personalized T cell immunotherapy using collagen-II specific regulatory T-cells, for the treatment of chronic non-infectious uveitis. This followed the ODD already received for the product in Europe.

Autoimmune uveitis is a severe inflammatory condition of the eye, often resulting in permanent vision damage. Uveitis is one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world. No treatment is currently approved for the patients that become refractory to corticosteroid compounds.

“The Orphan Drug Designation in both the US and EU is the latest significant step for the development of Col-Treg, a novel and promising therapeutic approach for autoimmune uveitis, resulting from TxCell’s ASTrIA platform. TxCell applied for and received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU, which will allow us to expedite Col-Treg through development. This ultimately will benefit those suffering from autoimmune uveitis, a truly debilitating condition of the eye. TxCell plans to move Col-Treg into a first clinical study in 2016, with top line results expected end 2017,” said Stephane Boissel, CEO, TxCell.

The FDA Orphan Drug Designation provides a special status to drugs and biologics intended to treat, diagnose or prevent rare diseases and disorders. Rare diseases and disorders are defined as affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. In particular, this designation provides for a seven-year marketing exclusivity period against competition as well as certain incentives, including federal grants and tax credits.

This adds to the benefits of the EU ODD, which includes 10 years of market exclusivity from product launch as well as protocol assistance and possible exemptions or reductions in regulatory fees during development.