ATA230, an allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy targeting antigens expressed by cytomegalovirus (CMV), has been investigated in one Phase 1 and two Phase 2 clinical studies in immunocompromised patients with CMV viremia or disease who are refractory or resistant to antiviral drug treatment in the post-transplant setting. In October 2017, Atara announced that ATA230 was granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation by the FDA for the treatment of congenital CMV infection, and in September 2017, ATA230 received orphan drug designation in the U.S. for the treatment of CMV viremia and disease in immunocompromised patients. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) in October 2016 also issued a positive orphan drug designation opinion for ATA230 for the treatment of CMV infection in patients with impaired cell-mediated immunity.
In patients with weakened immune systems, including bone marrow and solid organ transplant recipients, newborns with immature immune systems and those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause potentially life-threatening disease or may result in blindness, brain damage, and deafness. While small molecule antiviral drugs are approved to treat and prevent CMV infection, there remains a high unmet need due to viral resistance, modest neurodevelopmental activity and adverse effects, such as toxicity and reduction in white blood cell count impairing the ability to fight other infections, with these agents.