Apitope, a clinical stage biotech company developing potential first-in-class antigen-specific immunotherapies targeting autoimmune diseases (including multiple sclerosis (MS), Graves' disease and uveitis), announced positive results from the Phase I first in man clinical trial of its product candidate, ATX-GD-59, in development for the treatment of Graves' disease.
Graves' disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases with approximately 10 million patients across Europeand the US and yet there have been no innovative treatments in more than 60 years. With Graves' disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and causes it to become overactive.
Symptoms can include an enlargement of the thyroid gland, swelling of the neck, localised abnormalities of skin, tremors, heat intolerance and sweating, significant weight loss, osteoporosis, atrial fibrillation and ocular changes in patients. Each year 20-30 out of every 100,000 people are newly diagnosed with Graves' disease. The ratio of women versus men diagnosed with Graves' disease is 6:1 and around 2% of all women will develop Graves' disease during their lifetime.
Dr Simon Pearce, Professor of Endocrinology, Newcastle University, and Chief Investigator for the trial commenting on the results said: "It is very exciting to see these promising Phase I results where ATX-GD-59 has shown both an encouraging safety and tolerability profile as well as efficacy. With current first-line treatments having a high failure rate, and the second-line treatments being either invasive surgery or radioiodine, ATX-GD-59 demonstrates the potential to address the high medical need for a new, safe and effective treatment for the neglected field of those suffering from Graves' disease."
The Phase I clinical study met the primary endpoint to assess the safety and tolerability of ATX-GD-59 in 12 patients with Graves' disease. The majority of the per protocol subjects were either euthyroid, the clinical objective of therapy, or close to being euthyroid by the end of treatment; the effect was maintained during the 3 months follow up off therapy. Importantly, TSHR antibody levels were also reduced with close correlations between percentage decreases in antibody and thyroid hormone levels in line with the mechanism of action.
Dr Keith Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Apitope, commented: "We're highly encouraged by these data as they provide further evidence that our Apitope® platform identifies safe and effective treatments for autoimmune diseases. These findings are important for Graves' disease patients in providing a potential new treatment paradigm aimed at the cause of the disease not just the symptoms. We will continue to progress the development of ATX-GD-59 as a treatment for Graves' disease and are currently preparing to initiate a Phase II study in the first quarter of 2019."
The investigational product was administered intradermally (ID) every two weeks over a period of 18 weeks in male and female patients that were not otherwise being treated with anti-thyroid therapy. Following a titration period of 25, 50, 100, 400 and 800 μg in the initial eight weeks of treatment, a dose of 800 μg was administered fortnightly for an additional 10 weeks, comparable to the regime followed in the successful ATX-MS-1467 multiple sclerosis (MS) trials.