Leronlimab 14-Week, NASH Clinical Trial Met Primary Endpoint (PDFF) and Secondary Endpoint (cT1) for Per Protocol Population in 350 mg Weekly Dose
VANCOUVER, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan 5, 2022--
CytoDyn Inc. (OTCQB: CYDY) (“CytoDyn” or the “Company”), a late-stage biotechnology company developing leronlimab, a CCR5 antagonist with the potential for multiple therapeutic indications, announced positive results from the 350 mg weekly dose of its Phase 2 NASH clinical trial. The trial was conducted in two parts. Part 1 compared a 700 mg weekly dose and placebo in a double-blind randomized manner and Part 2 evaluated a 350 mg weekly dose as an open label study compared to the same placebo blinded arm. Results of the topline report will be announced when available.
The primary endpoint, PDFF (proton density fat fraction), is an MRI-derived biomarker for fatty deposition, while the secondary endpoint, cT1, is an iron-corrected T1 mapping representative of liver inflammation and fibrosis. These two values are used to evaluate the risk of NASH. CytoDyn’s Phase 2 clinical trial compared the changes from baselines in these endpoints. The leronlimab 350 mg dose versus placebo comparison for the primary endpoint PDFF was statistically significant. Leronlimab compared to placebo also reached near significance for the secondary endpoint cT1. There were no significant differences in treatment emergent adverse events between leronlimab and placebo groups.
Christopher P. Recknor, M.D., CytoDyn’s Senior Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations, stated, “We thank our sites, vendors and staff who helped make this trial possible. We are in the process of analyzing biomarker data including CCR5 haplotype information to better understand responder rates and mechanism of action. Given 5% of the world population is estimated to have NASH with 20% progressing to cirrhosis, this signal gives hope for a therapeutic intervention for this disease.”
Nader Pourhassan, Ph.D., CytoDyn’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We wish to thank our entire NASH team led by Dr. Recknor, who has done a phenomenal job conducting this study. We are very excited about these results and the potential for helping the millions of individuals effected by NASH across the world. The main focus after seeking approval in the U.S. will be the UK, Canada, Brazil, and the Philippines. Hitting our primary endpoint in both ITT and per protocol (PP) and secondary endpoint in PP with such short trial (14-week trial as compared to usually 24 to 32-week NASH trials) is a very strong statement of leronlimab’s potential. We believe we have a unique drug with tremendous opportunities.”
About Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a chronic liver disease characterized histologically by the presence of hepatic inflammation and cell injury (hepatocellular ballooning) due to hepatic fat accumulation (steatosis) equal or superior to 5 percent of hepatocytes. Unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption contributes to the development of NASH. NASH can progress to high‐burden conditions such as cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Despite its very high burden, there are currently no approved pharmacological therapies for NASH. Available therapies focus solely on treating NASH comorbidities, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), while NASH management options focus on lifestyle changes, based on diet and exercise, and control of the associated comorbidities. Lifestyle changes have demonstrated the greatest benefit in improving steatosis and mild fibrosis; however, as patients with advanced fibrosis due to NASH are at a significantly higher risk of liver‐related mortality, pharmacological treatments are urgently needed. 7
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted CytoDyn Fast Track designation to explore two potential indications using leronlimab to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and metastatic cancer. The first indication is combination therapy with HAART for HIV-infected patients, and the second is for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC). Leronlimab is an investigational humanized IgG4 mAb that binds to CCR5, a cellular receptor important in HIV infection, tumor metastases, and other diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Leronlimab has been studied in 16 clinical trials involving more than 1,200 people and met its primary endpoints in a pivotal Phase 3 trial (leronlimab combined with HIV standard care in patients with multi-drug resistance to current available classes of HIV drugs).
Leronlimab, among various potential applications, is a viral-entry inhibitor in HIV/AIDS. It binds to CCR5, thus protecting healthy T cells from viral infection by blocking the predominant HIV (R5) subtype from entering those cells. Leronlimab does not work on other strains of HIV (for example X4), however, R5 is the most dominant strain of HIV. Five clinical trials have demonstrated leronlimab could significantly reduce or control HIV viral load in humans. The leronlimab antibody appears to be a powerful antiviral agent with fewer side effects and less frequent dosing requirements than currently used daily drug therapies. Cancer research has shown CCR5 may play a role in tumor invasion, metastases, and tumor microenvironment control (for example, through angiogenesis). Published studies have shown that blocking CCR5 can reduce tumor metastases in laboratory and animal models of aggressive breast and prostate cancer. Leronlimab reduced human breast cancer metastasis by more than 97% in a murine xenograft model. As a result, CytoDyn is conducting two clinical trials, one, a Phase 2 in mTNBC, which was granted Fast Track designation by the FDA in 2019, and a second, a Phase 2, basket trial which encompasses 22 different solid tumor cancers.
The CCR5 receptor plays a central role in modulating immune cell trafficking to sites of inflammation. After completing two clinical trials with COVID-19 patients (a Phase 2 and a Phase 3), CytoDyn initiated a Phase 2 investigative trial for post-acute sequelae of SARS COV-2 (PASC), also known as COVID-19 Long-Haulers. This trial evaluated the effect of leronlimab on clinical symptoms and laboratory biomarkers to further understand the pathophysiology of PASC. It is currently estimated that between 10-30% of those infected with COVID-19 develop long-term sequelae. Common symptoms include fatigue, cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, and shortness of breath. CytoDyn plans to pursue clinical trials to evaluate leronlimab’s effect on immunological dysregulation in other post-viral syndromes, including myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
CytoDyn is also conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial for NASH to evaluate the effect of leronlimab on liver steatosis and fibrosis. Pre-clinical studies revealed a significant reduction in NAFLD and a reduction in liver fibrosis using leronlimab. There are currently no FDA approved treatments for NASH, which is a leading cause of liver transplant. About 30 to 40 percent of adults in the U.S. live with NAFLD, and 3 to 12 percent of adults in the U.S. live with NASH. There have been no strong safety signals identified in patients administered leronlimab in multiple disease spectrums, including patients with HIV, COVID-19, and oncology.
CytoDyn is a late-stage biotechnology company developing innovative treatments for multiple therapeutic indications using leronlimab, a novel humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the CCR5 receptor. CCR5 plays a critical role in the ability of HIV to enter and infect healthy T-cells and appears to be implicated in tumor metastasis and immune-mediated illnesses, such as NASH.
CytoDyn successfully completed a Phase 3 pivotal trial using leronlimab combined with standard antiretroviral therapies in HIV-infected patients who were heavily treatment-experienced individuals with limited treatment options. CytoDyn is working diligently to resubmit its Biologics License Application (“BLA”) for this HIV combination therapy since receiving a Refusal to File in July 2020. In July 2021, CytoDyn announced that it had submitted a dose justification report to the FDA, and in November 2021 resubmitted the non-clinical and manufacturing sections of the BLA, all integral steps in the BLA resubmission process, which it expects to complete by the end of the first quarter of calendar 2022. CytoDyn also completed a Phase 2b/3 investigative trial with leronlimab used as a once-weekly monotherapy for HIV-infected patients. CytoDyn plans to initiate a registration-directed study of leronlimab monotherapy indication. If successful, it could support a label expansion approval. Clinical results to date from two trials have shown that leronlimab can maintain a suppressed viral load in a sub-population of R5 HIV patients who chose to switch from their daily pills regimen to once-a-week subcutaneous dose of leronlimab. Several patients on leronlimab’s Phase 2b extension arm have remained virally suppressed for almost 7 years and many patients in our Phase 2b/3 investigative trial are passing two and some four years of monotherapy with suppressed viral load.
CytoDyn is also conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial with leronlimab in mTNBC, a Phase 2 basket trial in solid tumor cancers (22 different cancer indications), Phase 2 investigative trial for post-acute sequelae of SARS COV-2, also known as COVID-19 long haulers, and a Phase 2 clinical trial for NASH. CytoDyn has already completed a Phase 2 and Phase 3 trial for mild-to-moderate and severe-to-critical COVID-19 patients, respectively, for which CytoDyn did not meet its primary or secondary endpoints except for the secondary endpoint in the critically ill subpopulation. More information is at www.cytodyn.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Words and expressions reflecting optimism, satisfaction or disappointment with current prospects, as well as words such as “believes,” “hopes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “plans,” “anticipates” and variations thereof, or the use of future tense, identify forward-looking statements, but their absence does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Forward-looking statements specifically include statements about leronlimab, its ability to provide positive health outcomes, the possible results of clinical trials, studies or other programs or ability to continue those programs, the ability to obtain regulatory approval for commercial sales, and the market for actual commercial sales. The Company’s forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance, and actual results could vary materially from those contained in or expressed by such statements due to risks and uncertainties including: (i) the regulatory determinations of leronlimab’s efficacy to treat human immunodeficiency virus (“HIV”) patients with multiple resistance to current standard of care, COVID-19 patients, and metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (“mTNBC”), among other cancer indications, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and various drug regulatory agencies in other countries; (ii) the Company’s ability to raise additional capital to fund its operations; (iii) the Company’s ability to meet its debt obligations; (iv) the Company’s ability to enter into partnership or licensing arrangements with third-parties; (v) the Company’s ability to identify patients to enroll in its clinical trials in a timely fashion; (vi) the timely and sufficient development, through internal resources or third-party consultants, of analyses of the data generated from the Company’s clinical trials required by the FDA or other regulatory agencies in connection with the Company’s BLA resubmission or other applications for approval of the Company’s drug product; (vii) the Company’s ability to achieve approval of a marketable product; (viii) the design, implementation and conduct of the Company’s clinical trials; (ix) the results of the Company’s clinical trials, including the possibility of unfavorable clinical trial results; (x) the market for, and marketability of, any product that is approved; (xi) the existence or development of vaccines, drugs, or other treatments that are viewed by medical professionals or patients as superior to the Company’s products; (xii) regulatory initiatives, compliance with governmental regulations and the regulatory approval process; (xiii) legal proceedings, investigations or inquiries affecting the Company or its products; (xiv) general economic and business conditions; (xv) changes in foreign, political, and social conditions; (xvi) stockholder actions or proposals with regard to the Company, its management, or its board of directors; and (xvii) various other matters, many of which are beyond the Company’s control. The Company urges investors to consider specifically the various risk factors identified in its most recent Form 10-K, and any risk factors or cautionary statements included in subsequent Form 10-Qs and Form 8-Ks, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any responsibility to update any forward-looking statements to take into account events or circumstances that occur after the date of this press release.
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Cristina De Leon
Joe Germani / Miller Winston
Longacre Square Partners
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA WASHINGTON
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: AIDS HEALTH INFECTIOUS DISEASES CLINICAL TRIALS PHARMACEUTICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY
SOURCE: CytoDyn Inc.
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PUB: 01/05/2022 09:26 AM/DISC: 01/05/2022 09:27 AM