EC grants Orphan Drug Designation to Ascendis’ TransCon in hypoparathyroidism

TransCon PTH is an investigational once-daily long-acting prodrug of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in development for the treatment of adult HP, which is designed to replace PTH at physiologic levels for 24 hours each day to address both the short-term symptoms and long-term complications of HP.  Currently, the standard of care for HP is calcium and active vitamin D (calcitriol or alfacalcidol).

Hypoparathyroidism (HP) is a rare endocrine disorder characterized by insufficient levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), resulting in low calcium and elevated phosphate levels in the blood. HP affects approximately 200,000 patients in the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea, the majority of whom develop the condition following damage or accidental removal of the parathyroid glands during thyroid surgery. Patients often experience decreased quality of life. In the short term, symptoms include weakness, severe muscle cramps (tetany), abnormal sensations such as tingling, burning and numbness (paresthesia), memory loss, impaired judgment and headache. Over the long term, this complex disorder can increase risk of major complications, such as extraskeletal calcium depositions occurring within the brain, lens of the eye, and kidneys, which can lead to impaired renal function.

Until recently, HP remained among the few hormonal insufficiency states not treated by replacement of the missing hormone. Standard of care with active vitamin D analogs and calcium supplementation do not fully control the disease and may contribute to risk of renal disease. As a result, patients with HP have an estimated 4-fold to 8-fold greater risk of renal disease compared to healthy controls.

FDA accepts Ascendis BLA for TransCon hGH in pediatric GHD


TransCon refers to “transient conjugation.” The proprietary TransCon platform is an innovative technology designed to create new therapies that optimize therapeutic effect, including efficacy, safety and dosing frequency. TransCon molecules have three components: an unmodified parent drug, an inert carrier that protects it, and a linker that temporarily binds the two. When bound, the carrier inactivates and shields the parent drug from clearance. When injected into the body, physiologic conditions (e.g., pH and temperature) initiate the release of the active, unmodified parent drug in a predictable manner. Because the parent drug is unmodified, its original mode of action may be maintained. TransCon technology is designed to be applied broadly to a protein, peptide or small molecule in multiple therapeutic areas, and to be used systemically or locally.