Preclinical Validation of AVGN7 for Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Award last edited on: 1/22/20

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
Buel "dan" Rodgers

Company Information

Aavogen Inc

13420 Glen Lea Way
Rockville, MD 20850
   (208) 596-9807
Location: Single
Congr. District: 08
County: Montgomery

Phase I

Contract Number: 1R43AR075438-01
Start Date: 9/1/19    Completed: 8/31/20
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Gene therapeutics offer hope to many patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) or with other neuromuscular degenerative diseases. Although successful in preclinical studies, none of these drugs has ever restored striated muscle function to healthy non-diseased levels. This is also true for exon- skipping drugs as both approaches delay muscle degeneration, but do not stimulate muscle regeneration. Thus, they cannot recover mobility in patients with advanced stages of the disease. This indicates that novel ancillary tools for enhancing muscle mass and function are needed to restore optimal muscle strength. Our objective is to validate the use of AVGN7 (rAAV6:SMAD7), a gene therapeutic for enhancing striated muscle mass and function, in the most commonly used small animal model for DMD, the mdx mouse. We hypothesize that AVGN7 will significantly enhance striated muscle mass and function despite the compromised state of dystrophin- deficient muscle. This is based on high profile preclinical studies demonstrating AVGN7 to attenuate ActRIIb signaling and, thereby, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, muscle mass and strength and exercise and cardiac capacity. AVGN7 also prevents muscle wasting in animals with cancer by blocking muscle signaling pathways that are also activated in dystrophic muscle. Most importantly, this therapeutic does not produce the serious off- target effects that have compromised development of competing “myostatin attenuating” technologies, which have either been shown to compromise blood vessel integrity or to possess this potential. Our milestones are (i) to determine the minimal effective dose for enhancing dystrophic muscle mass and function and (ii) to determine the long-term efficacy of AVGN7. The proposed approach is truly innovative as it utilizes a novel muscle-specific gene therapeutic and state-of-the art tools to comprehensively assess muscle function at different scales. Moreover, AVGN7 has the potential to address an enormous unmet market need that cannot be met by available or developing dystrophin replacement therapeutics. These studies are highly significant as they will provide proof-of-concept data to be used in a future IND filing that in turn, will help advance a AVGN7 towards clinical trials for DMD, an FDA-recognized orphan disease.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
RELEVANCE TO PUBLIC HEALTH. The loss of striated muscle mass and function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy significantly compromises quality of life and is ultimately fatal. The proposed studies will develop a novel gene therapy for preventing this loss and for complementing other emerging therapeutics that focus on restoring and stabilizing muscle structure. These studies will also advance the gene therapy towards an IND filing.

Project Terms:
Activins; Address; adeno-associated viral vector; Affect; Animal Model; Animals; Attenuated; base; Blood Vessels; cancer cachexia; Cardiac; Chronic; Client; Clinical; Clinical Trials; Collaborations; combinatorial; Complement; Consultations; Data; Degenerative Disorder; Development; Disease; Dose; drug development; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Dystrophin; efficacy study; Exercise; exon skipping; FBXO32 gene; Foundations; Future; GDF11 gene; GDF8 gene; gene therapy; Goals; heart function; Ice; Immunotherapeutic agent; Immunotherapy; innovation; Lead; Ligands; Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophies; MADH2 gene; MADH7 gene; Malignant Neoplasms; mdx mouse; Measures; micro-dystrophin; Monitor; Mus; Muscle; muscle degeneration; muscle form; Muscle function; Muscle Proteins; muscle regeneration; muscle strength; Muscular Atrophy; Muscular Dystrophies; muscular structure; Myopathy; neuromuscular; neuromuscular function; novel; overexpression; Pathology; Patients; Pharmaceutical Preparations; pre-clinical; preclinical efficacy; preclinical study; prevent; promoter; Protein Biosynthesis; Public Health; pulmonary function; Quality of life; Rare Diseases; Recombinants; Signal Pathway; Signal Transduction; Spinal Muscular Atrophy; Stream; Striated Muscles; Technology; Testing; Therapeutic; therapeutic gene; Time; tool; Tropism; ubiquitin-protein ligase; Validation; vector; Wasting Syndr

Phase II

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Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
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