Alnylam Files Clinical Trial Application (CTA) for ALN-PCS, an RNAi Therapeutic Targeting PCSK9 for the Treatment of Severe Hypercholesterolemia
- Company Achieves Important Milestone in Alnylam 5x15TM Product Strategy by Advancing Second Generation Lipid Nanoparticles to Clinical Stage, with Data Expected by Year's End -
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that it has filed a Clinical Trial Application (CTA) with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to initiate a Phase I clinical trial with ALN-PCS, an RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia. Upon receiving clearance of the CTA, Alnylam plans to initiate the Phase I trial and expects to present initial safety, tolerability, and clinical activity data from this study by the end of this year.
"The filing of this CTA marks an important milestone in our Alnylam 5x15 product efforts, as it is the first program using our second generation lipid nanoparticle technology to enter clinical testing, where we aim to have important safety, tolerability, and clinical activity data by year's end. Moreover, we are excited about the potential for ALN-PCS to make an impact in the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia as this RNAi therapeutic targets both intracellular and extracellular PCSK9, a target validated by human genetics that is known to play a central role in LDL cholesterol metabolism," said Akshay K. Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Alnylam. "We continue to execute on our Alnylam 5x15 initiative, which is focused on advancing innovative RNAi therapeutics that address genetically defined targets and diseases with high unmet medical need. ALN-PCS represents the second of such programs, following ALN-TTR01 which is currently in a Phase I trial with data expected later this quarter."
ALN-PCS is a systemically delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting the gene proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, or PCSK9, a target validated by human genetics that is involved in the metabolism of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc, or "bad" cholesterol). ALN-PCS targets both intracellular and extracellular PCSK9, thereby phenocopying the human genetics observed in loss of function or null human PCSK9 mutations (N. Engl. J. Med. (2006) 354:1264-1272; Am. J. Hum. Genet. (2006) 79: 514-523), without any adverse effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) levels. An RNAi therapeutic targeting PCSK9 has the potential to lower tissue and circulating plasma PCSK9 protein levels resulting in higher LDL receptor levels in the liver, and subsequently lower LDLc levels. Lower LDLc is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction. Pre-clinical data from the ALN-PCS program have shown specific silencing of PCSK9 mRNA in the liver, and plasma PCSK9 protein levels of up to 90%, with an ED50 (the dose that provides a 50% silencing effect) of approximately 0.06 mg/kg for both mRNA and protein reduction. These studies have also demonstrated a greater than 50% reduction in levels of LDLc, which is rapid and durable, lasting for weeks after a single dose.
As per the filed CTA, the Phase I trial of ALN-PCS is expected to be conducted in the U.K. as a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, single ascending dose study, enrolling approximately 32 healthy volunteer subjects with elevated baseline LDLc (>116mg/dL). The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of a single dose of ALN-PCS, with patients being enrolled into five sequential cohorts of increasing doses ranging from 0.015 to 0.25 mg/kg. Secondary objectives include characterization of plasma and urine pharmacokinetics of ALN-PCS, and assessment of pharmacodynamic effects of the drug on plasma PCSK9 protein and LDLc levels measured from serial blood samples prior to and following dosing.
ALN-PCS is an RNAi therapeutic that utilizes proprietary Alnylam second-generation lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology, specifically that using the MC3 lipid.
About Severe Hypercholesterolemia
Severe hypercholesterolemia is a condition characterized by very high levels of cholesterol in the blood which is known to increase the risk of coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Most forms of hypercholesterolemia can be treated through dietary restrictions and medicines such as statins. However, a large proportion of patients with hypercholesterolemia are not being met by statin therapy including genetic familial hypercholesterolemia patients, acute coronary syndrome patients, and other patient populations that are statin intolerant or statin resistant; severe hypercholesterolemia is estimated to affect more than 500,000 patients worldwide. As a result, there is a significant need for novel therapeutics to treat patients with severe hypercholesterolemia whose disease is inadequately managed by existing therapies.
About "Alnylam 5x15TM"
The "Alnylam 5x15" strategy, launched in January 2011, establishes a path for development and commercialization of novel RNAi therapeutics to address genetically defined diseases with high unmet medical need. Products arising from this initiative share several key characteristics including: a genetically defined target and disease; the potential to have a major impact in a high unmet need population; the ability to leverage the existing Alnylam RNAi delivery platform; the opportunity to monitor an early biomarker in Phase I clinical trials for human proof of concept; and the existence of clinically relevant endpoints for the filing of a new drug application (NDA) with a focused patient database and possible accelerated paths for commercialization. This strategy leverages Alnylam's clinical progress on siRNA delivery, including definitive human proof-of-concept data for systemic delivery. By the end of 2015, the company expects to have five such RNAi therapeutic programs in advanced clinical development. These include ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, ALN-HPN for the treatment of refractory anemia, and two additional programs from the company's ongoing discovery efforts that will be designated and advanced into development later in 2011. Alnylam intends to commercialize the products arising under the "Alnylam 5x15" strategy itself in the United States and potentially certain other countries; the company will seek development and commercial partners in other global territories.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as "a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so," and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of genetically defined diseases, including ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, and ALN-HPN for the treatment of refractory anemia. As part of its "Alnylam 5x15TM" strategy, the company expects to have five RNAi therapeutic products for genetically defined diseases in advanced stages of clinical development by the end of 2015. Alnylam has additional partner-based programs in clinical or development stages, including ALN-RSV01 for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, ALN-VSP for the treatment of liver cancers, and ALN-HTT for the treatment of Huntington's disease. The company's leadership position on RNAi therapeutics and intellectual property have enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. In addition, Alnylam and Isis co-founded Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics; Regulus has formed partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline and sanofi-aventis. Alnylam has also formed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, a division of the company focused on the development of RNAi technologies for application in biologics manufacturing, including recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world's top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, and Cell. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.