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Message from the Board Chair

This has been a historical week for the ASMD community. On March 28, Sanofi announced that olipudase alfa was approved in Japan for the treatment of pediatric and adult patients with ASMD! This is the first and only approved therapy for ASMD patients in the world! It took a village to help us reach this amazing milestone!

Key contributors include Dr. Edward Schuchman who identified the gene encoding, the enzyme involved in ASMD. He also developed the mouse model for ASMD and the first genetic screening test for ASMD. In addition, he pioneered enzyme replacement therapy for ASMD and collaborated with Sanofi to help bring olipudase to clinical trials. Thank you, Dr. Schuchman!

Our deepest appreciation for all the clinicians, genetic counselors, nurses and professionals that carried out the olipudase alfa trials. The clinical leaders at trial sites around the world included Simon Jones, Maurizio Scarpa, Karl Mengal, Robert Giugliani, Nathalie Guffon, Antonio Barbato and Isabele Batsu. Here in the U.S., we are especially grateful for Drs. Renata Gallagher, George Diaz, and Melissa Wasserstein, along with their amazing clinical teams, for their tireless efforts in not only leading these clinical trials but for providing great care for all our patients. We are so appreciative for your time, your effort, your passion and your leadership.

We would also like to thank all the patients and families who participated in the olipudase clinical trials. In the beginning, it was the original 5 adults who have now all continued to be part of the clinical trial for almost a decade! They have donated hours, days, weeks and years to the community. Through their efforts, we understand the persistent benefit of olidpudase can be seen years after starting therapy. Our appreciation to the pediatric patients and families who have also been involved in the clinical trial for up to 7 years. Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to all the adults who enrolled in the ASCEND trial, a year long trial that required travel to an approved site every two weeks for a year with a 50/50 chance of receiving placebo during the study period. In an ultra rare disease with a limited number of patients, each trial participant’s data, including the placebo data, is critical in demonstrating the benefit of this therapy. Thanks to all!!!

We appreciate Sanofi’s work in the rare disease space and commitment to providing the first approved therapy for all Nieman-Pick patients. We understand that an approval in Japan does not translate to approvals elsewhere. However, it is a tremendous first step in our goal of allowing all patients with ASMD to have the opportunity to receive an approved therapy. NNPDF will continue to advocate for approval in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you all for supporting the advocacy work we do and supporting the NNPDF. Let’s work together to push this approval across the finish line in the coming months.

Read the complete press release.

With Warm Regards,

Justin Hopkin, MD
NNPDF Board Chair

Supporting one another. Supporting our community.