Cambridge, Mass., December 14, 2016 – Imara Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and other hemoglobinopathies, lauded the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, which in part aims to expedite the development of innovative, new treatments for patients with difficult-to-treat medical conditions, and received bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and Senate.
“In drug development today, a funding gap exists between the discovery of new drug targets and the completion of preclinical studies required to submit an IND application, which hinders an industry already grappling with R&D inefficiencies, shifting priorities, and a challenging pricing environment,” said James McArthur, Ph.D., Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Imara. “We are supportive of this bill which aims to address some of these funding challenges and improve the speed and efficiency at which new medicines are developed and approved.”
Specifically, the bill recognizes SCD as a rare pediatric disease and is incorporated into the priority review voucher program, which was included thanks to the bipartisan, bicameral work of Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), as well as Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and G.K. Butterfield, (D-N.C.). Incentives like this will enable biotechnology companies to advance new treatment options for patients faster.
Furthermore, Imara recognizes the contributions of the sickle cell community to ensure the inclusion of SCD in this program. Their group efforts took advocacy work to new levels, working with patients, physicians and researchers to present a unified voice to lawmakers.
“Currently, limited treatment options exist for people living with the devastating effects of SCD,” said Sonja Banks, President at the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. “Inclusion in the pediatric rare disease priority voucher program was viewed as mission critical by our community to help ensure continued investment in innovative, new treatment options for patients.”
Imara Inc., a Cydan Development company, is dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease. Imara is developing IMR-687, a highly selective, potent small molecule inhibitor of PDE9, to treat patients with sickle cell disease. The company was launched following an 18-month diligence and de-risking scientific collaboration between orphan drug accelerator Cydan Development and H. Lundbeck A/S with initial funding from life science investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.
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