Inozyme Pharma Inc. | June 17, 2022
Inozyme Pharma, Inc. a clinical-stage rare disease biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of abnormal mineralization, today announced a partnership with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine (RCIGM) to advance and evaluate a novel newborn screening technology to facilitate diagnosis of genetic diseases. The partnership includes several leading genomics, biotechnology companies and patient advocacy groups and focuses specifically on a diagnostic and precision medicine guidance tool called BeginNGS™, which incorporates rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS®) to currently screen newborns for approximately 400 genetic diseases.
“Newborn screening will be essential to identifying and initiating timely intervention in children with rare genetic disorders like GACI (generalized arterial calcification of infancy) as we advance INZ-701 through clinical testing. We look forward to working with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, and with the BeginNGS consortium, to advance the use of this promising screening technology.”
Catherine Nester, vice president, physician and patient strategies at Inozyme Pharma
RCIGM is in a pilot evaluation that aims to supplement existing newborn screening protocols at birthing hospitals throughout the United States. The pilot program’s goal is for BeginNGS to become the genetic disease screening standard, with testing expanding to approximately 1,000 [disorders] and sequencing of 3.7 million newborns annually. Founding members of the public-private BeginNGS consortium include Inozyme, Alexion, Travere Therapeutics, and several patient advocacy groups that are helping to advance this program.
“RCIGM helped pioneer the use of rWGS for diagnosis of genetic disease in intensive care settings,” said Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, president and CEO of RCIGM. “With the proven clinical utility of diagnostic rWGS , we are using that experience to screen, diagnose, and help treat genetic conditions at or before onset of symptoms. Through a public-private consortium of leading organizations such as Inozyme, and advocacy groups in pediatrics, genetics, biopharma, biotech, and information technology, we aim to scale newborn sequencing to every life-threatening childhood genetic disease, RCIGM believes now is the time to end the diagnostic and therapeutic odyssey for all children with treatable genetic diseases.”
BeginNGS developed through a research collaboration with Alexion; AstraZeneca’s Rare Disease group; Illumina, Inc.; TileDB; Fabric Genomics; and Genomemon, which uses rWGS to diagnose and identify treatment options for genetic conditions before symptoms begin. This approach represents an advance over current pediatric uses of rWGS that focus mainly on children who are already critically ill. Once a diagnosis is made, BeginNGS uses Genome-to-Treatment (GTRx™), a tool that provides immediate treatment guidelines to help physicians understand genetic conditions and their available treatment options.
Addressing the Need for Enhanced Newborn Screening Tools
Traditional newborn screening is one of the most successful public health programs in the United States. Of nearly 4 million babies born annually, 98 percent are tested in the first days of life. The BeginNGS test identifies serious childhood diseases that have effective treatments. States currently screen for only 31 to 76 of the hundreds of severe, childhood genetic diseases that have available treatments. Adding a new condition to the screening protocol is slow (5 to 6 years per condition), laborious, and costly. In the last decade, WGS has increased in speed, diagnostic performance, and scalability. BeginNGS will not replace the current biochemical newborn screening paradigm; rather, it is designed to complement the newborn screening processes and infrastructure that are already in place.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of newborn screening to assist in early identification of infants affected by ENPP1 Deficiency and ABCC6 Deficiency via Inozyme’s collaboration with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. Early diagnosis is crucial to improving a baby’s chances of survival and long-term health if they have these rare and devastating diseases,” said Christine O’Brien and Liz Molloy, co-presidents of GACI Global.
About Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine
Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is transforming pediatric critical care by advancing disease-specific healthcare for infants and children with rare disease. Discoveries at the Institute are enabling rapid diagnosis and targeted treatment of critically ill newborns and pediatric patients at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and a growing network of more than 60 children’s hospitals nationwide. The vision is to expand delivery of this life-changing technology to enable the practice of Rapid Precision Medicine™ at children’s hospitals across the nation and the world. RCIGM is a non-profit, research institute embedded within Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center.
About Inozyme Pharma
Inozyme Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage rare disease biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of diseases of abnormal mineralization impacting the vasculature, soft tissue, and skeleton. Through our in-depth understanding of the biological pathways involved in mineralization, we are pursuing the development of therapeutics to address the underlying causes of these debilitating diseases. It is well established that two genes, ENPP1 and ABCC6, play key roles in a critical mineralization pathway and that defects in these genes lead to abnormal mineralization. We are initially focused on developing a novel therapy, INZ-701, to treat the rare genetic diseases of ENPP1 and ABCC6 Deficiencies. INZ-701 is currently in Phase 1/2 clinical trials for the treatment of ENPP1 Deficiency and ABCC6 Deficiency.