GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) and Theravance, Inc. has announced the start of large Phase 2b asthma dose-optimization studies with both the lead inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) GW685698 (‘698) and the lead long-acting beta agonist (LABA) GW642444 (‘444) assets in the ‘Horizon’ programme to develop a next-generation combination product.
GSK began enrolling patients with mild to severe asthma in the ‘698 Phase 2b clinical programme on 21st December 2007and began enrolling patients with persistent asthma in the ‘444 Phase 2b clinical programme on 29th December 2007. These clinical programmes will determine the most effective doses to be taken into Phase 3 combination studies. The Phase 2b COPD programme with ‘444 is also on schedule to commence in 1H 2008.
Darrell Baker, SVP GSK Respiratory Medicines Development Centre said, “The programme is progressing well and we are delighted to have two very strong assets to progress into our large Phase 2b studies.”
He continued, “We have seen encouraging results in previous studies and have confidence in our ongoing programme. Both asthma and COPD are serious, debilitating diseases where there remains a considerable unmet need. We believe through this programme we will introduce a meaningful option for the treatment of patients with these conditions.”
“We are very pleased to have met the important milestone of initiating the larger Phase 2b studies with the lead compound ‘444 and with the progress of ‘698," said Rick E Winningham, Chief Executive Officer at Theravance.
“Based upon recent clinical and preclinical results, the collaboration’s confidence in the overall profile of ‘444 has increased and we are focusing our resources on this compound to move it forward as quickly as possible. This important step brings us closer to our joint goal of bringing a new treatment option to patients in this important therapeutic area."
These studies will enrol in excess of 2,400 patients recruited globally. The ‘444 LABA Phase 2b dose-optimization study will enrol approximately 600 patients with persistent asthma who are receiving inhaled steroids. The ‘698 ICS Phase 2b studies will be undertaken in three separate studies in mild, moderate and severe asthma patients with a total enrolment of 1,800 patients. All studies will be carried out using a new inhaler device. In parallel, enabling studies involving ‘444 and ‘698 given in combination will be undertaken prior to commencing large-scale Phase 3 combination studies.
In a recently-completed Phase 2 study, ‘698 demonstrated once-a-day efficacy in patients with moderate asthma, with significant improvements in lung function in excess of 200mL seen within the first two weeks of dosing and maintained throughout the remainder of the 8 week treatment period, without any adverse effect on adrenal function (a marker of systemic steroid effect).
Darrell Baker concluded, “Our goal will be to offer patients the benefit of a once-daily medication to address a significant unmet patient need. As a leader in respiratory medicine, GSK is leveraging years of experience in the development of combination products with the goal of providing physicians and patients with an effective and innovative medicine.”