Evelo hits the brakes on atopic dermatitis drug development after phase 1 failure

Inflammatory-disease-focused Evelo Biosciences has hit the brakes on one of its atopic dermatitis treatments after a phase 1 trial failed to demonstrate clinical benefit.

With no clear evidence of benefit after eight weeks across the subset of 15 patients with atopic dermatitis who received the lower dose of the drug, called EDP1867, the biotech said the program would be put on hold. Instead, Evelo will focus on its remaining inflammation programs EDP1815 and EDP2939.

EDP1815 has already undergone phase 2 trials for mild and moderate psoriasis, while recruitment for a phase 2 trial in atopic dermatitis is ahead of plan, the company said. It intends to use a faster-release capsule on a cohort of patients for the latter trial, with readout expected in the first half of 2023.

“Key opinion leader and market research feedback on the data from our phase 2 trial of EDP1815 in psoriasis has supported the potential of EDP1815 to change the standard of care for millions of patients who suffer from all stages of psoriasis and are in need of an effective, safe and well-tolerated oral medicine to treat their disease,” Simba Gill, Ph.D., CEO of Evelo, said in a statement. “During the third quarter of this year, we expect to discuss the path to registration for EDP1815 in psoriasis with health authorities.”

The biotech did not provide an update on its other lead candidate, EDP2939, which has yet to enter the clinic.

Evelo's candidate therapies are single strains of microbes selected to act on the small intestinal axis. The biotech was founded by Flagship’s VentureLabs in 2014 with the aim of harnessing the microbiome to raise immune responses against cancer, adding an anti-inflammatory focus when it merged with Epiva Biosciences two years later.