CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and CARLSBAD, Calif.,
The goal of the Phase 2 study was to characterize the safety and tolerability of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and to inform dose and dose frequency selection for the planned Phase 3 cardiovascular outcomes study. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study included 286 patients with established CVD and high Lp(a) (baseline mean of approximately 100 mg/dL [250 nmol/L] – more than three times the upper limit of normal). All patients were treated for at least six months, with some patients treated up to one year. Results from the study show:
- Statistically significant dose-dependent reductions of Lp(a) compared to placebo at all dose levels, including low monthly doses of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx.
- Most patients in the active group achieved Lp(a) reductions below the established threshold of risk for CVD events.
- Treatment emergent adverse events were balanced between the active and placebo groups.
- Most common adverse event was injection site reactions (ISRs). ISRs were mostly mild and occurred in a minority of patients.
- No patient in the study experienced a confirmed platelet level below 100,000/mm3. The incidence of platelet levels below normal (140,000/mm3) was comparable between the active (10.5%) and placebo (14.9%) groups.
- Approximately 90% of patients completed treatment and the rate of treatment discontinuation was comparable between the active and placebo groups.
“These data represent an important step forward for patients who have significant risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease due to their high levels of Lp(a). In this large Phase 2 study AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, robustly lowered Lp(a) with a favorable safety and tolerability profile. In addition, the data from this study support the potential to treat patients with convenient, low volume monthly doses,” said Paula Soteropoulos, chief executive officer of Akcea Therapeutics. “These results are also encouraging as we continue to develop our LICA pipeline.”
Elevated Lp(a) is an independent, hereditary risk factor for CVD that cannot be well-controlled with lifestyle modifications, such as diet or exercise, or with treatment using existing cholesterol-lowering therapies. It is estimated that there are 8 to 10 million people living with established cardiovascular disease driven by elevated levels of Lp(a). The Phase 2 clinical study of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx is the largest study conducted specifically for patients with elevated Lp(a).
“After my personal experience at age 39 with severe Lp(a)-induced heart disease and nearly having a heart attack myself, I have met many others living with this silent killer that is under-recognized in the wider population,” said Sandra Revill Tremulis, founder of the Lipoprotein(a) Foundation. “Even after diagnosis, with no treatment the increased risk of heart disease and heart attack remains a serious burden. This is an important advancement in the identification of a potential novel medicine for patients with Lp(a)-driven cardiovascular disease.”
“Those of us who are on the front lines treating patients with elevated Lp(a) who have aggressive, premature heart disease recognize the significant need for a treatment like AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx. Recent data have shown that patients are particularly at risk when their Lp(a) levels go over 50 mg/dL. The data from this study are very encouraging as they show that AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx consistently reduced Lp(a) levels below this risk threshold,” said Dr. Sotirios Tsimikas, vice president of global cardiovascular development at
Ionis discovered AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx using its proprietary ligand-conjugated antisense (LICA) technology and has co-developed the drug with Akcea. AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx is part of an exclusive, worldwide option and collaboration agreement between Akcea and Novartis. Ionis’ LICA technology has the potential to produce new drugs that are highly potent and can be used at lower doses and with less frequent administration than non-LICA antisense drugs. Results from separate Phase 1 studies of eight LICA drugs in development, including three at Akcea, have shown that doses up to 30-fold lower than non-LICA drugs can result in consistent target reductions with a favorable safety and tolerability profile.
“With 13 LICA programs now in development, this study represents the largest and longest study to date to evaluate the Ionis LICA platform. The favorable safety and tolerability profile, coupled with the potent reductions in Lp(a) levels demonstrated in this study, bolster our confidence in the LICA platform and further validate the significant potential that LICA represents for both rare and common diseases with great unmet medical needs,” said Brett Monia, Ph.D., chief operating officer at Ionis.
Development of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx is part of a strategic collaboration between Akcea and Novartis. If Novartis exercises its option to license AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx after the successful completion of an end of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA, Akcea will receive a
ABOUT AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx AND THE PHASE 2 STUDY
AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx is an antisense drug that uses Ionis’ advanced LIgand Conjugated Antisense, or LICA technology. AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx inhibits the production of apolipoprotein(a), or Apo(a), protein, thereby reducing Lp(a).
The Phase 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study evaluated the safety and efficacy of different doses of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx in 286 patients with elevated levels of Lp(a) and established cardiovascular disease. The study had a five to one randomization testing different doses and dose frequencies of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx. Weekly, every other week and monthly doses were tested ranging from 20mg to 60mg. Patients were dosed for at least six months with some patients dosed up to one year. The primary efficacy endpoint was the percent change in Lp(a) from baseline at the primary analysis time point (6 months) compared to placebo.
Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a) is made up of apo(a) protein bound to LDL cholesterol and contains oxidized phospholipids, resulting in an atherogenic, pro-inflammatory and thrombogenic lipoprotein. Elevated Lp(a) is recognized as an independent, genetic cause of cardiovascular disease present in approximately 20-30% of the population. Lp(a) levels are determined at birth and, therefore, lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise, do not impact Lp(a) levels. For additional information about Lp(a), please see the Lipoprotein(a) Foundation at http://www.lipoproteinafoundation.org/.
ABOUT AKCEA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
ABOUT IONIS PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
Ionis is the leading company in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development focused on developing drugs for patients who have the highest unmet medical needs, such as those patients with severe and rare diseases. Using its proprietary antisense technology, Ionis has created a large pipeline of first-in-class or best-in-class drugs, with over 40 drugs in development. SPINRAZA® (nusinersen) has been approved in global markets for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Biogen is responsible for commercializing SPINRAZA. TEGSEDITM (inotersen) and WAYLIVRATM (volanesorsen) are two antisense drugs that Ionis discovered and successfully advanced through Phase 3 studies. TEGSEDI is approved in the E.U. for the treatment of stage 1 or stage 2 polyneuropathy in adult patients with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis, or hATTR, and is currently under regulatory review in the U.S. and Canada. WAYLIVRA is under regulatory review for marketing approval for the treatment of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome, or FCS. WAYLIVRA is also in a Phase 3 study in patients with familial partial lipodystrophy, or FPL. Akcea Therapeutics, an affiliate of Ionis focused on developing and commercializing drugs to treat patients with serious and rare diseases, will commercialize TEGSEDI and WAYLIVRA, if approved. Ionis’ patents provide strong and extensive protection for its drugs and technology. Additional information about Ionis is available at www.ionispharma.com.
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