Investors & Media

Press Release

Printer Friendly Version View printer-friendly version
<< Back
Global Blood Therapeutics Receives FDA Orphan Drug Designation for GBT440 in Sickle Cell Disease

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ:GBT), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous blood-based disorders with significant unmet needs, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation for GBT440 for the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). GBT440 is being developed as a potentially disease-modifying therapy for SCD.

“Receiving orphan drug designation, along with the previously announced Fast Track designation, are important milestones in our regulatory strategy for GBT440 and highlight the FDA’s agreement that the SCD community faces a critical need for new treatments,” said Ted W. Love, M.D., chief executive officer of GBT. “We continue to believe that GBT440 has the potential to become the first mechanism-based and disease-modifying therapeutic for this grievous disease and look forward to sharing full results from our Phase 1/2 trial and potentially initiating a pivotal trial in adult patients with SCD in 2016.” 

The FDA’s Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status to drugs and biologics that are being developed to address rare diseases or disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. With orphan designation, GBT qualifies for various incentives, including tax credits for qualified clinical trials and market exclusivity upon regulatory approval.

About GBT440
GBT440 is being developed as an oral, once-daily therapy for patients with sickle cell disease. GBT440 works by increasing hemoglobin’s affinity for oxygen. Since oxygenated sickle hemoglobin does not polymerize, the Company believes GBT440 blocks polymerization and the resultant sickling of red blood cells (RBCs). With the potential to restore normal hemoglobin function and improve oxygen delivery, GBT440 may be capable of modifying the progression of SCD.

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder caused by a genetic mutation in the beta-chain of hemoglobin, leading to formation of abnormal hemoglobin known as sickle hemoglobin, or HbS. In its deoxygenated state, HbS has a propensity to polymerize, or bind together forming long, rigid rods within a red blood cell (RBC). The polymer rods deform RBCs to assume a sickled shape and to become inflexible, which can cause blockage in small blood vessels. Beginning in childhood, SCD patients suffer unpredictable and recurrent episodes or crises of severe pain due to blocked blood flow to organs, which often lead to psychosocial and physical disabilities. This blocked blood flow, combined with hemolytic anemia (the destruction of RBCs), can eventually lead to multi-organ damage and early death.

About Global Blood Therapeutics
Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutics to treat grievous blood-based disorders with significant unmet need. GBT is developing its initial product candidate, GBT440, as an oral, once-daily therapy for sickle cell disease (SCD) and is currently evaluating GBT440 in both healthy subjects and SCD patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase 1/2 clinical trial. In addition to GBT440 for the treatment of SCD, GBT is engaged in research and development activities targeted toward hypoxemic pulmonary disorders, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), as well as hereditary angioedema (HAE). To learn more, please visit:

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements we make in this press release may include statements which are not historical facts and are considered forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act. We intend these forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the therapeutic potential of GBT440 and its ability to serve as a mechanism-based and disease-modifying treatment for SCD, to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act and are making this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. These forward-looking statements reflect our current views about our plans, intentions, expectations, strategies and prospects, which are based on the information currently available to us and on assumptions we have made. We can give no assurance that the plans, intentions, expectations or strategies will be attained or achieved, and furthermore, actual results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements and will be affected by a variety of risks and factors that are beyond our control including, without limitation, the risks that the data observed in our Phase 1/2 clinical trial to date may not be consistent with data generated in subsequent cohorts of patients at longer durations of exposure and that drug-related adverse events may be observed in later stages of the trial, along with those risks set forth in the prospectus for our initial public offering of common stock that was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on August 12, 2015, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties and other important factors in our subsequent filings with the SEC. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact Information:
Joey Fleury (investors)

Ryan Flinn (media)

Primary Logo

Global Blood Therapeutics