Drug Farm candidate gains rare paediatric disease status

Phase 1INDPhase 2
Drug Farm candidate gains rare paediatric disease status
Source: Pharmaceutical Technology
ROSAH syndrome is caused by mutations in the ALPK1 gene. Credit: Gorodenkoff via Shutterstock.
Drug Farm has been granted a rare paediatric disease (RPD) designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for DF-003 to treat retinal dystrophy, optic nerve edema, splenomegaly, anhidrosis and headache (ROSAH) syndrome.
DF-003 is an alpha-kinase 1 (ALPK1) indicated for the treatment of the rare autosomal dominant disorder ROSAH syndrome. The condition is caused by mutations in the ALPK1 gene, characterised by the symptoms listed in its name. ROSAH syndrome currently has no approved treatments.
Drug Farm received FDA clearance of its investigational new drug (IND) application to initiate Phase I studies for the candidate in June 2023, after pre-clinical studies in ROSAH syndrome transgenic mouse models showed significant activity and favourable drug-like properties.
If a new drug application for DF-003 is approved by the FDA, the company may be eligible to receive a priority review voucher (PRV) that can be redeemed to receive for any later marketing application.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase I trial (NCT05997641) is evaluating the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of DF-003 on 96 healthy subjects.  The study is expected to conclude in Q1 2025.
The company has other candidates in the pipeline, including another ALPK1 agonistALPK1 agonist DF-006, which is under investigation in the third part of a Phase I study for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection. The trial is assessing the levels of DF-006 and its related compounds in the blood following doses of the formulation.
In May 2023, Drug Farm generated $27m in a Series C funding round led by Betta Capital. The company, which has offices in both the US and China, also raised $56m in February 2021 in a Series A lead by BVCF.
In the announcement accompanying the designation, Drug Farm’s chief medical officer Jeysen Yogaratnam said: “Obtaining Rare Pediatric Disease Designation recognizes the serious and debilitating complications of this rare disease and upholds our goal to provide DF-003 as the first targeted drug for potential treatment in patients afflicted with ROSAH syndrome.”
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