Press Release

Protara Therapeutics Announces Dosing of First Patient in Phase 2 STARBORN-1 Trial of TARA-002 in Pediatric Patients with Lymphatic Malformations

October 23, 2023

NEW YORK, Oct. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Protara Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: TARA), a clinical-stage company developing transformative therapies for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases, today announced that dosing is now underway in the Phase 2 STARBORN-1 trial evaluating TARA-002, an investigational cell-based immunopotentiator, for the treatment of pediatric patients with lymphatic malformations (LMs).

“There is a pressing need for an effective FDA-approved therapy to treat LMs, a rare condition mainly affecting children. There are currently no such agents that are FDA approved specifically for this indication,” said Nancy Bauman, MD, Children's National Medical Center: Children's Research Institute, Washington DC, and investigator for the STARBORN-1 trial. “Having witnessed first-hand in prior studies the significant benefit observed with OK-432, the predecessor of TARA-002, I firmly believe that TARA-002 has the potential to play a meaningful role in this vulnerable patient population.”

STARBORN-1 is a Phase 2 single-arm, open-label, prospective clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intracystic injection of TARA-002 for the treatment of macrocystic and mixed cystic LMs (≥ 50% macrocystic disease) in participants six months to less than 18 years of age. Including an age de-escalation safety lead-in, the trial will enroll approximately 30 patients who will receive up to four injections of TARA-002 spaced approximately six weeks apart.

“Initiation of the STARBORN-1 trial marks an important step forward for our LMs program and, more importantly, the young patients impacted by this rare condition,” said Jesse Shefferman, Chief Executive Officer of Protara Therapeutics. “We are committed to bringing TARA-002 to patients suffering from this devastating disease and look forward to advancing this study.”

The primary endpoint of the trial is the proportion of participants with macrocystic and mixed cystic LMs who demonstrate clinical success, defined as having either a complete response (90% to 100% reduction from baseline in total LM volume) or substantial response (60% to less than 90% reduction in total LM volume) as measured by axial imaging.

TARA-002 is an investigational cell therapy based on the broad immunopotentiator, OK-432, which was originally granted marketing approval by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare as an immunopotentiating cancer therapeutic agent. This cell therapy is currently approved in Japan and Taiwan for LMs and has been used to successfully treat thousands of pediatric patients with this rare condition. In addition, OK-432 was studied in the largest ever conducted Phase 2 trials in LMs, in which the therapy was administered via a now-closed compassionate use program led by the University of Iowa.

TARA-002 has been granted Rare Pediatric Disease designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of LMs.

About Lymphatic Malformations

Lymphatic malformations (LMs) are rare, congenital malformations of lymphatic vessels resulting in the failure of these structures to connect or drain into the venous system. Most LMs are present in the head and neck region and are diagnosed in early childhood during the period of active lymphatic growth, with more than 50% detected at birth and 90% diagnosed before the age of three years. The most common morbidities and serious manifestations of the disease include compression of the upper aerodigestive tract, including airway obstruction requiring intubation and possible tracheostomy dependence; intralesional bleeding; impingement on critical structures, including nerves, vessels, lymphatics; recurrent infection, and cosmetic and other functional disabilities.

About TARA-002 in LMs

TARA-002 is an investigational cell therapy in development for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and of LMs for which it has been granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. TARA-002 was developed from the same master cell bank of genetically distinct group A Streptococcus pyogenes as OK-432, a broad immunopotentiator marketed as Picibanil® in Japan and approved in Taiwan by Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Protara has successfully shown manufacturing comparability between TARA-002 and OK-432.

When TARA-002 is administered, it is hypothesized that innate and adaptive immune cells within the cyst or tumor are activated and produce a strong immune cascade. Neutrophils, monocytes and lymphocytes infiltrate the abnormal cells and various cytokines, including interleukins IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha are secreted by immune cells to induce a strong inflammatory reaction and destroy the abnormal cells.

About Protara Therapeutics, Inc.

Protara is committed to advancing transformative therapies for people with cancer and rare diseases. Protara’s portfolio includes its lead program, TARA-002, an investigational cell-based therapy being developed for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and lymphatic malformations, and IV Choline Chloride, an investigational phospholipid substrate replacement for patients dependent on parenteral nutrition. For more information, visit

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Company Contact:
Justine O'Malley
Protara Therapeutics

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Source: Protara Therapeutics

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