On 16 June 2005, orphan designation (EU/3/05/292) was granted by the European Commission to Laboratoires Auris SAS, France, for H-D-Asp-D-Gln-D-Ser-D-Arg-D-Pro-D-Val-D-Gln-D-Pro-D-Phe-D-Leu-D-Asn-D-Leu-D-Thr-D-Thr-D-Pro-D-Arg-D-Lys-D-Pro-D-Arg-D-Pro-D-Pro-D-Arg-D-Arg-D-Arg-D-Gln-D-Arg-D-Arg-D-Lys-D-Lys-D-Arg-D-Gly-NH2 (AM-111) for the treatment of acute sensorineural hearing loss (acute acoustic trauma, sudden deafness and surgery induced acoustic trauma).
The sponsorship was transferred to Auris Medical Limited, Ireland, in January 2009.
- What is acute sensorineural hearing loss?
Hearing loss can begin suddenly (acutely) or slowly and persisting over a long period of time (chronic). Acute sensorineural hearing loss is a sudden hearing loss resulting from damage to cells in the cochlea, the organ of hearing, which is located behind the eardrum. Although it is not always possible to identify the cause of this type of hearing loss, known causes of injury are exposure to noise (acoustic trauma) or a direct damage to the hearing system (for instance secondary to surgery).
Some patients recover fully while others will remain with a hearing loss that can vary in intensity. This may result in impaired interpersonal communication, learning difficulties, impaired ability to work, irritability, etc. and is therefore considered as seriously debilitating.
- What is the estimated number of patients affected by the condition?
At the time of designation, acute sensorineural hearing loss (acute acoustic trauma, sudden deafness and surgery induced acoustic trauma) affected approximately 3.7 in 10,000 people in the European Union (EU)*. This is equivalent to a total of around 187,331 people, and is below the threshold for orphan designation, which is 5 people in 10,000. This is based on the information provided by the sponsor and knowledge of the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP).
*Disclaimer: For the purpose of the designation, the number of patients affected by the condition is estimated and assessed on the basis of data from the European Union (EU 27), Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This represents a population of 506,300,000 (Eurostat 2011).
- What treatments are available?
Several products mostly aimed to improve the blood circulation and oxygenation of the inner ear were authorised for the condition in some countries in the Community at the time of submission of the application for orphan drug designation.
Satisfactory argumentation has been submitted by the sponsor to justify the assumption that AM-111 might be of potential significant benefit for the treatment of acute sensorineural hearing loss mainly because it might improve the long-term outcome of the patients. This assumption will have to be confirmed at the time of marketing authorisation. This will be necessary to maintain orphan status.
- How is this medicine expected to work?
The damage caused to the inner ear results in the death of those cells responsible for the transmission of sounds. Different biochemical mechanisms lead to the death of those cells. Blocking (inhibiting) these mechanisms would prevent further cell death and thus the size of the damage could be limited. AM-111 is a peptide that inhibits (blocks) one of these biochemical mechanisms. It is therefore expected to interrupt the destruction of the cells and thus might limit the intensity of the hearing loss.
- What is the stage of development of this medicine?
At the time of submission of the application for orphan designation, no clinical trials in patients with acute sensorineural hearing loss (acute acoustic trauma, sudden deafness and surgery induced acoustic trauma) were initiated.
AM-111 was not authorised anywhere worldwide for acute sensorineural hearing loss (acute acoustic trauma, sudden deafness and surgery induced acoustic trauma) or designated as orphan medicinal product elsewhere for this condition, at the time of submission.
According to Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 of 16 December 1999, the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) adopted on 12 May 2005 a positive opinion recommending the grant of the above-mentioned designation.
- Opinions on orphan medicinal product designations are based on the following three criteria:
- the seriousness of the condition;
- the existence of alternative methods of diagnosis, prevention or treatment;
- either the rarity of the condition (affecting not more than 5 in 10,000 people in the Community) or insufficient returns on investment.
Designated orphan medicinal products are products that are still under investigation and are considered for orphan designation on the basis of potential activity. An orphan designation is not a marketing authorisation. As a consequence, demonstration of quality, safety and efficacy is necessary before a product can be granted a marketing authorisation.
|Disease/condition||Hearing loss (acute acoustic trauma, sudden deafness and surgery induced acoustic trauma)|
|Date of decision||16/06/2005|
|Orphan decision number||EU/3/05/292|
Review of designation
Sponsor’s contact details:
Auris Medical Limited
The Black Church,
Sr. Mary’s Place,
Telephone: +353 766 15 46 75
Telefax: +353 1 685 30 40
Patients’ associations contact points:
For contact details of patients’ organisations whose activities are targeted at rare diseases see:
- Orphanet, a database containing information on rare diseases which includes a directory of patients’ organisations registered in Europe.
- European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS), a non-governmental alliance of patient organisations and individuals active in the field of rare diseases.