Phase 2 Data from "ASTRAEUS" Trial of Mereo BioPharma's Alvelestat in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency-associated Lung Disease Presented at the 2023 American Thoracic Society International Conference
LONDON, May 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mereo BioPharma Group plc (NASDAQ: MREO), (“Mereo” or “the Company”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on rare diseases today announced that data from the Phase 2 “ASTRAEUS” trial of alvelestat for the treatment of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency-associated Lung Disease (AATD-LD), as well as post-hoc analyses demonstrating the association between biomarker reductions with alvelestat and improvements in SGRQ, a key Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) measure, were presented for the first time to the scientific community at the 2023 American Thoracic Society International Conference. The ASTRAEUS data were presented during an oral abstract session on novel treatments and targets by Prof. Robert Stockley, Lung Investigation Unit, University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) and Chief Investigator of the ASTRAEUS trial, while the post-hoc analyses were presented in a poster session by Dr. Jackie Parkin, Senior Vice President and Therapeutic Head at Mereo.
Consistent with previously reported biomarker analyses, alvelestat demonstrated significant and consistent reductions in all three biomarkers related to AATD-LD disease activity: blood neutrophil elastase (NE), Aa-val360 and the elastin breakdown product, desmosine. Low - and high-dose alvelestat significantly suppressed NE activity compared to baseline (-83.5% and -93.3%, p=0.023 and p<0.001 respectively) and versus placebo (p=0.001 and p<0.001). In the high dose arm, Aa-val360 and desmosine progressively decreased from baseline, -22.7% (p=0.004) and -13.2% (p=0.045) respectively, with significant reductions compared to placebo as well (p=0.001 and p=0.041). The low dose did not generate consistent changes in Aa-val360 or desmosine.
Based on these data, Mereo is completing preparatory work for a single pivotal Phase 3 study evaluating the high dose of alvelestat (240mg), which, if successful, is expected to support submissions for full regulatory approvals in both the U.S. and EU. The planned study will have two independent primary endpoints, based on the recommendations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA): i) a Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) expected to be change from baseline in the SGRQ-Activity Domain score, as guided by the FDA, and ii) lung density measured by CT scan, as guided by the EMA. In line with previous guidance, Mereo is continuing to explore potential partnerships to fund the Phase 3 development of alvelestat.
Findings from the biomarker-SGRQ post-hoc analysis showed an association between the extent of reduction in biomarkers and degree of improvement in the SGRQ-Activity domain in alvelestat-treated subjects. By week 12, there was an observed difference in improvement in SGRQ-Activity in biomarker responders compared to non-responders, with a mean improvement of 4.4 in those showing a >0% biomarker decrease and 6.1 in those with >5% biomarker decrease (P=0.05 and p=0.02 respectively), compared to those on alvelestat without biomarker decrease. This association was not observed in the patients who received placebo. These data support a potential association between the effect of alvelestat on the NE pathway and improvement in how a patient feels and functions based on SGRQ score. Data from ASTRAEUS and other research support the hypothesis that longer term treatment is expected to lead to a deepening of the biomarker and associated clinical response.
Alvelestat has been generally safe, with no safety signals of concern observed to date. Adverse events leading to study drug discontinuation (one liver function and one prolonged QTc) resolved on study drug cessation. Three treatment-related SAEs of headache were reported in the alvelestat arms. Headache is a known adverse event associated with alvelestat and is being addressed through dose-escalation during initiation of alvelestat treatment.
“We are very pleased to have these data presented to the scientific community for the first time at ATS2023. These findings have informed our recent and ongoing discussions with both the FDA and EMA, and validate the proposed design for our planned Phase 3 trial, which we believe will be the first registrational study in AATD-LD to use both a PRO approach and an objective clinical outcome measure as independent primary endpoints,” said Dr. Denise Scots-Knight, CEO of Mereo BioPharma. "We are excited by the potential of alvelestat to become the first-in-class oral neutrophil elastase inhibitor for the treatment of AATD-LD and look forward to continued collaboration with the regulatory authorities, scientific and patient communities as we further refine our development plans ahead of the pivotal study. We look forward to sharing further updates on the progress of the alvelestat program, including the results of the investigator-led Phase 2 ATALANTA study evaluating alvelestat in combination with augmentation therapy, which is expected to read out in Q3 2023.”
Details of the ATS data presentations are as follows:
Presenter: Prof. Robert Stockley
Session Title: Emerging COPD Diagnostics and Treatments
Abstract ID: 10172
Abstract Title: Analysis From Phase II Clinical Trial, Alvelestat, NE (Neutrophil Elastase) Inhibitor in AATD-LD: Correlation Between Biomarker Response (Desmosine and Aa-val360) and Clinical Outcome (SGRQ)
“We are grateful that the alvelestat data presented this week has been received with such interest and enthusiasm by the respiratory community,” added Dr. Jackie Parkin, SVP and Therapeutic Head, Mereo BioPharma. “The attendance at our poster session yesterday and active engagement with thought leaders during and outside of Professor Stockley’s oral presentation earlier today are a clear reflection of the excitement toward alvelestat and its potential to improve the lives of patients with AATD-LD. I would like to thank Professor Stockley and the other ASTRAEUS investigators and their staff for their ongoing commitment to advancing alvelestat, as well as the patients, their caregivers and families who participated in the study, and to The Alpha-1 Project for their contribution to funding this work. We look forward to further collaboration as we advance toward the planned Phase 3 study and remain firmly committed to our mission.”
ASTRAEUS Study Design Overview
ASTRAEUS (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03636347) was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study in patients naïve to augmentation or following a 6-month wash-out period. The study enrolled 99 adults with severe AATD-related Lung Disease across 26 sites in North America, EU and U.K. of which 98 were dosed. To support the use of a biomarker development strategy interrogating the pathogenic pathway, an amendment elevated two secondary biomarkers (NE activity and Aa-val360) to primary endpoints in addition to desmosine, resulting in three biomarker primary endpoints. Patients were randomized to one of three different arms, high dose, low dose or placebo, following Independent Safety Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) review of the safety from the initial cohorts. As previously announced, the protocol allowed prioritization of enrollment to the high dose arm in the case of recruitment challenges and this change was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients underwent a twelve-week dosing period followed by a four-week follow-up. The primary endpoints included within-patient individual % change from baseline up to end-of-treatment, within the treatment arms and in comparison to placebo, at weeks four, eight and 12 in blood neutrophil elastase activity, Aa-Val360 levels and desmosine levels. The secondary endpoints were the proportion of patients with NE below the limit of quantitation and PK, safety and tolerability. Exploratory endpoints included rate of acute exacerbations of COPD, pulmonary function tests, St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, inflammatory and lung damage biomarkers.
The study was originally designed to enroll 165 patients, however, the Company took the decision to close the study when it was determined an adequate number of subjects were recruited to the high dose arm to assess the primary endpoints, with a total of 99 patients enrolled, 98 of whom were dosed.
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