β-globin gene transfer into hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has the potential to reduce or eliminate the symptoms and long-term complications of severe sickle cell disease (SCD). LentiGlobin Drug Product (DP) is a gene therapy product containing autologous CD34+ cells transduced with the BB305 lentiviral vector. BB305 encodes a human β-globin gene containing a single point mutation (AT87Q) designed to confer anti-sickling properties similar to those observed in fetal hemoglobin (γ-globin). In two ongoing studies, subjects with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia (Studies HGB-204 and HGB-205) or SCD (Study HGB-205) receiving LentiGlobin DP have demonstrated sustained expression of 3-9 g/dL therapeutic hemoglobin (HbAT87Q) and have shown marked improvements in clinical symptoms 1 year post-treatment. Study HGB-206 is a multi-center, Phase 1/2 safety and efficacy study of LentiGlobin DP in adults with severe SCD. We previously (ASH 2015) presented results from 2 subjects, who had 3 and 6 months of follow-up after LentiGlobin treatment. We now present data from 7 treated subjects, 4 of whom have ≥6 months of follow-up data.

Subjects (≥18 years of age) with severe SCD (history of recurrent vaso-occlusive crisis [VOC], acute chest syndrome, stroke, or tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity of >2.5 m/s) were screened for eligibility. Following bone marrow harvest (BMH), CD34+ cells were transduced with the BB305 vector. Subjects underwent myeloablative conditioning with busulfan prior to infusion of the transduced cells. Safety assessments include adverse events (AEs), integration site analysis (ISA) and surveillance for replication competent lentivirus (RCL). After infusion, subjects are monitored for hematologic engraftment, vector copy number (VCN), HbAT87Q expression, and other laboratory and clinical parameters.

As of July 2016, 7 subjects with severe SCD (median age: 26 years, range 18-42 years) have received LentiGlobin DP in this study. All subjects successfully underwent BMH, with a median of 2 harvests required (range 1-4). Fifteen Grade 3 AEs in 5 subjects were attributed to BMH: pain (n=10), anemia (n=3) and VOC (n=2); all resolved with standard measures. Table 1 summarizes cell harvest, DP characteristics, and lab results. The median LentiGlobin DP cell dose was 2.1x10e6 CD34+ cells/kg (range 1.6-5.1) and DP VCN was 0.6 (0.3-1.3) copies/diploid genome. Median post-infusion follow-up as of July 2016 is 7.1 months (3.7-12.7 months). All subjects successfully engrafted after receiving LentiGlobin DP, with a median time to neutrophil engraftment of 22 days (17-29 days). The toxicity profile observed from start of conditioning to latest follow-up was consistent with myeloablative conditioning with single-agent busulfan. To date, there have been no DP-related ≥Grade 3 AEs or serious AEs, and no evidence of clonal dominance or RCL. The BB305 vector remains detectable at low levels in the peripheral blood of all subjects infused, with median VCN 0.08 (0.05-0.13, n=7) at last measurement. All subjects express HbAT87Q, with a median of 0.4g/dL (0.1-1.0 g/dL, n=7) at 3 months; most subjects demonstrated modest increases over time, and the 2 subjects with the longest follow-up expressed 0.31 and 1.2 g/dL HbAT87Q at 9 months. All 4 subjects with ≥6 months of follow-up experienced multiple VOCs in the 2 years prior to study entry (2-27.5 VOCs annually). Since LentiGlobin DP infusion, 3 of these 4 subjects have had fewer VOCs, although this trend may be confounded by the short follow-up, the effects of transplant conditioning, and/or post-transplant RBC transfusions.

The decrease in VCN between DP and peripheral cells contrasts with previous reports of successful LentiGlobin gene therapy in ongoing studies HGB-204 and HGB-205. The relatively low in vivo VCN in this study appears to result in the lower HbAT87Q expression seen to date. We are exploring multiple hypotheses as to the etiology of the VCN drop between DP and peripheral blood, including the adverse impact of sickle marrow pathology on HSCs, the adequacy of myeloablation, and the magnitude of the transduced cell dose. We will provide an update on study data and ongoing efforts to increase in vivo VCN in patients with SCD, such as increasing the transduced cell dose through alternate HSC procurement methods or enhancing the DP VCN through manufacturing improvements.


Kanter:Novartis: Consultancy. Walters:Bayer HealthCare: Honoraria; AllCells, Inc./LeukoLab: Other: Medical Director ; ViaCord Processing Laboratory: Other: Medical Director ; Leerink Partners, LLC: Consultancy; Kiadis Pharma: Honoraria; bluebirdBio, Inc: Honoraria. Kwiatkowski:Ionis pharmaceuticals: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Shire Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Sideris Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Apopharma: Research Funding; Luitpold Pharmaceuticals: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. von Kalle:bluebird bio: Consultancy; GeneWerk: Equity Ownership. Kuypers:Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute: Employment; bluebird bio: Consultancy. Leboulch:bluebird bio: Consultancy, Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Joseney-Antoine:bluebird bio: Employment, Equity Ownership. Asmal:bluebird bio: Employment, Equity Ownership. Thompson:bluebird bio: Consultancy, Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Amgen: Research Funding; Baxalta (now part of Shire): Research Funding; ApoPharma: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Mast: Research Funding; Eli Lily: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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