Thank you for donating!

You can donate using the following services.

Vtesse October 2016 Newsletter: Update on the Clinical Trial of VTS-270: The NPC Study

Posted: 24.11.16

Update on the Clinical Trial of VTS-270: The NPC Study

October 2016 Newsletter

(available for download in Arabic, English, French, German, Dutch,

Italian, Mandarin, Spanish EU, Spanish Lat. Am, and Turkish.)

Vtesse, Inc. logo (PRNewsFoto/Vtesse, Inc.)

Update on the Vtesse Clinical Trial of VTS-270:

We continue to open up new sites and enroll patients.  We currently have 34 patients who have been enrolled in the trial.

  • Two sites in Australia are now active and both have patients set to screen in November.
  • The three sites in Germany report that they all have patients who will be screening in November.
  • We are working to bring interested families in from countries that are outside of the clinical trial site countries so that they can be involved in the trial.

We continue to ask for your support as we make our way to 51 patients enrolled in the trial.

VTS-270 Recieves a Promising Innovative Medicine Designation (PIM) from MHRA in the UK:

A Promising Innovative Medicine Designation is an early indication that a medicinal product is a promising candidate for the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS), intended for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of a life-threatening or seriously debilitating condition with the potential to address an unmet medical need. Following designation, the applicant is expected to complete their clinical development programme within a reasonable time period, in order to continue with an application under the EAMS. Thus, successful completion of the VTS301 study remains critical to both the EAMS process and the overall development program.

All three criteria which must be fulfilled in order to gain a PIM designation are:

Criterion 1

  1. The condition should be:
  • Life-threatening or
  • Seriously debilitating

The severity of the disease should be justified based on objective and quantifiable medical or epidemiologic information, in terms of mortality and morbidity, with special emphasis on patient quality of life.

  1. With high unmet need:
  • There is no method of treatment, diagnosis or prevention available or
  • Existing methods have serious limitations

A critical review of the methods of treatment, diagnosis or prevention currently available in clinical practice in the UK should be provided, including an evaluation of the performance of these methods based on quantifiable data (e.g. data on survival, disease progression/relapses, or patient-reported outcomes).

Criterion 2

The medicinal product is likely to offer major advantage over methods currently used in the UK.

The Applicant should submit preliminary evidence, based on non-clinical and clinical data, indicating that the advantage and magnitude of effect claimed for the product is predicted to be of significant relevance to the patient and will address their unmet need. A well-argued evaluation of the likelihood of achievement of the product’s claims should be provided, based on the totality of information available at the time of designation. Depending on the product, this may include, but not restricted to, direct or indirect comparison to existing therapies/ standard of care in the UK, or evidence of a potential treatment effect in the etiology of the condition or similar efficacy but better overall tolerability compared to existing therapies.

Criterion 3

The potential adverse effects of the medicinal product are likely to be outweighed by the benefits, allowing for the reasonable expectation of a positive benefit risk balance. A positive benefit risk balance should be based on preliminary scientific evidence, as justified by the applicant, that the safety profile of the medicinal product is likely to be manageable and acceptable in relation to the estimated benefits.

Current News Story from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

September 2016

Fresh Hope for Treating a Rare Progressive, Lysosomal Storage Childhood Disease

It took nearly a decade and the loss of two infants before Khalid and Jabin Shaikh finally learned what was going wrong. Their third child, Zain, a son, was born in 2007 and immediately whisked away to a pediatric hospital for testing in an effort to identify the disease that took the lives of his siblings. While Zain survived infancy and beyond and met his major developmental milestones, it still took years of testing and inconclusive interpretations of unusual test results before the Shaikh family finally heard of Niemann-Pick Disease Type C (NPC).

Getting this diagnosis for Zain was a critical step for the Shaikh family, but solutions were still lacking. There is no cure for NPC. This genetic neurodegenerative condition is progressive, irreversible, and chronically debilitating. It is caused by a defect in lipid transportation within the cell, which leads to excessive accumulation of lipids in the brain, liver and spleen. It can lead to difficulty eating and breathing, and often seizures. The majority of people with NPC die by their late teens or 20s. Was the Shaikh family destined to lose their surviving child, too?

“I have been pulled to this place,” said Khalid Shaikh, who is now taking a sabbatical year from his job in the software industry in his native India to be in Philadelphia with his wife and son, pursuing a new hope for a better outcome for Zain.

Now a quiet 9-year-old with deep brown doe eyes, Zain is one of just over 50 children in the world are enrolling in an international multi-site clinical trial of an investigational treatment for NPC sponsored by Vtesse Inc. He is the first to enroll at the study site at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in this Phase 2b/3 clinical trial.

“We are feeling very confident that CHOP will successfully help this child to better health because some power, some almighty, is planning this stuff,” Khalid said. “Very few families get an opportunity like this.”

There is no FDA approved therapy for NPC, and most interventions only help manage its symptoms, which can vary across a broad spectrum. Sometimes the condition initially appears as liver disease detected in newborns or even during fetal development. A majority of children with NPC have an eye-movement symptom called vertical supranuclear gaze palsy, in which children are initially slow to shift their gaze to look up, and control over eye movement degenerates over time due to neurological damage. Often, children exhibit problems with neurological development and experience progressive losses after initially appearing to be healthy for the first few years of life.

“You have a walking child, all of a sudden, losing milestones,” said Can Ficicioglu, MD, PhD, director of the newborn metabolic screening  and lysosomal storage disease programs at CHOP and associate professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who is the lead investigator for the CHOP site of the NPC trial.

Zain Shaikh, so far, has been lucky. He has full control over his movements and showed relatively few symptoms of NPC until he had major seizures within the last year. More subtle symptoms affecting his intellectual development may have impacted his behavior and academic performance at school. For some children with NPC, belligerent behavior is an early sign that is misdiagnosed as a behavioral disorder until ongoing major cognitive decline makes it clear they are experiencing serious neurological degeneration.

NPC causes such brain damage as a result of one of two possible genetic mutations that affect how cells store cholesterol. By mechanisms that have not yet been fully explained, cholesterol and other lipids become trapped inside brain cells due to the mutated gene’s dysfunctional protein product; as a result, patients experience severe neurological decline.

The clinical trial for NPC is evaluating a drug candidate called VTS-270, which is a well-characterized mixture of 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HPbCD) with a specific compositional fingerprint that distinguishes it from other HPbCD mixtures. Other versions of cyclodextrins have already been shown to be useful in medicine (such as sugammadex [BRIDION, Merck]), as well as different and entirely unexpected places such as the odor-neutralizing ingredient in Febreze.

In cell culture, VTS-270 has been shown to remove cholesterol from cells, so scientists have studied its potential as a treatment for NPC. Intrathecally injected VTS-270 has been shown to slow the disease in animal models. Last year, a team of researchers from multiple institutions including the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine showed that cats that have a naturally occurring version of NPC had dramatic improvements after treatment with VTS-270. Hearing loss was a side effect in cats and impact on high-frequency hearing is an expected side effect in children, although this effect is ambiguous; due to the neurodegeneration involved in NPC, some hearing loss may result from the disease itself. The translational step of testing as a veterinary therapy for affected cats was essential in establishing that the compound was safe enough to proceed with the clinical trials in children that are underway at sites worldwide, now including CHOP.

“When I talk with physicians who have been treating patients with this compound, they told me that it does something for affected kids,” Dr. Ficicioglu said. “But of course it is not a miracle. Since there is no treatment available, whatever you have is extremely promising.”

See more at:

To find out more about the trial and to find a clinical trial site please visit or