FDA Fast Tracks Potential CAR T-Cell Therapy for Lupus

Lucy Hicks

May 02, 2023

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation for Cabaletta Bio's cell therapy CABA-201 for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN), the company announced May 1.

The FDA cleared Cabaletta to begin a phase 1/2 clinical trial of CABA-201, the statement says, which will be the first trial accessing Cabaletta's Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells for Autoimmunity (CARTA) approach. CABA-201, a 4-1BB-containing fully human CD19-CAR T cell investigational therapy, is designed to target and deplete CD19-positive B cells, "enabling an 'immune system reset' with durable remission in patients with SLE," according to the press release. Medscape Medical News previously reported on a small study in Germany, published in Nature Medicine, that also used anti-CD19 CAR T cells to treat five patients with SLE.

This upcoming open-label study will enroll two cohorts containing six patients each. One cohort will be patients with SLE and active LN, and the other will be patients with SLE without renal involvement. The therapy is designed as a one-time infusion and will be administered at a dose of 1.0 x 106 cells/kg.

"We believe the FDA's decision to grant Fast Track Designation for CABA-201 underscores the unmet need for a treatment that has the potential to provide deep and durable responses for people living with lupus and potentially other autoimmune diseases where B cells contribute to disease," David J. Chang, MD, chief medical officer of Cabaletta, said in the press release.

FDA Fast Track is a process designed to expedite the development and review of drugs and other therapeutics that treat serious conditions and address unmet medical needs. Companies that receive Fast Track designation for a drug have the opportunity for more frequent meetings and written communication with the FDA about the drug's development plan and design of clinical trials. The fast-tracked drug can also be eligible for accelerated approval and priority review, if relevant criteria are met.

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