AVXS-101 (Onasemnogene Abeparvovec) for SMA1: Comparative Study with a Prospective Natural History Cohort

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2019;6(3):307-317. doi: 10.3233/JND-190403.


Background: Spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1) is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality for which therapies, including AVXS-101 (onasemnogene abeparvovec, Zolgensma®) gene replacement therapy, are emerging.

Objective: This study evaluated the effectiveness of AVXS-101 in infants with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1) compared with a prospective natural history cohort and a cohort of healthy infants.

Methods: Twelve SMA1 infants received the proposed therapeutic dose of AVXS-101 (NCT02122952). Where possible, the following outcomes were compared with a natural history cohort of SMA1 infants (n = 16) and healthy infants (n = 27) enrolled in the NeuroNEXT (NN101) study (NCT01736553): event-free survival, CHOP-INTEND scores, motor milestone achievements, compound muscle action potential (CMAP), and adverse events.

Results: Baseline characteristics of SMA1 infants in the AVXS-101 and NN101 studies were similar in age and genetic profile. The proportion of AVXS-101-treated infants who survived by 24 months of follow-up was higher compared with the NN101 study (100% vs 38%, respectively). The average baseline CHOP-INTEND score for NN101 SMA1 infants was 20.3, worsening to 5.3 by age 24 months; the average baseline score in AVXS-101-treated infants was 28.2, improving to 56.5 by age 24 months. Infants receiving AVXS-101 achieved motor milestones, such as sitting unassisted and walking. Improvements in CMAP peak area were observed in AVXS-101-treated infants at 6 and 24 months (means of 1.1 and 3.2 mV/s, respectively).

Conclusions: In this study, AVXS-101 increased the probability of survival, rapidly improved motor function, and enabled motor milestone achievement in SMA1 infants.

Keywords: Gene therapy; natural history; neuromuscular diseases; spinal muscular atrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood / genetics
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome