Publication date: 03/12/2018
argenx (Euronext & Nasdaq: ARGX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a deep pipeline of differentiated antibody-based therapies for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it will share the detailed data from its Phase 2 clinical trial of efgartigimod (ARGX-113) in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and the Phase 1 portion of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial of cusatuzumab (ARGX-110) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) during a workshop being held in conjunction with the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition.
The workshop is being held on Monday, December 3, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. PT. A live webcast of the workshop will be available on argenx’s website at www.argenx.com. A replay of the webcast will be available for 90 days following the presentation.
“These datasets highlight the power of the collaborations we’ve forged with leading academic institutions. As part of these collaborations, we combine our antibody discovery capabilities with our collaborators’ deep disease biology insights to together unravel the functions of novel targets. We have built our broad pipeline in this way and have demonstrated strong execution with each new product candidate we bring forward. Based on the clinically meaningful results and clean tolerability profiles we have observed to date, we believe we have two antibody molecules with efgartigimod and cusatuzumab that are both first-in-class and potentially best-in-class,” commented Tim Van Hauwermeiren, Chief Executive Officer of argenx.
“We established strong proof-of-concept with efgartigimod in a second autoimmune indication showing a clear correlation between IgG reductions, platelet count increases and reduced bleeding events. The improvements in platelet counts were clinically meaningful in the treatment arms after a short drug exposure in a truly refractory ITP patient population. With these results and the drug candidate’s continued favorable tolerability, we look forward to advancing into a potential pivotal trial next year,” commented Nicolas Leupin, Chief Medical Officer of argenx.
Key ITP Clinical Results
This trial evaluated 38 adult patients with primary ITP who were inadequately controlled on standard of care (platelet count ≤ 30 x109/L at screening) in a Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial of efgartigimod. Patients received 4 doses over 3 weeks of either 5 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg of intravenous (IV) efgartigimod, or placebo. The Phase 2 trial was amended in December 2017 to extend the patient follow-up period to 21 weeks and to include the option to enter an open-label extension (OLE) trial. Data being presented today are the full data set.
The primary endpoint was safety and tolerability; efgartigimod was well-tolerated in all patients, with most adverse events (AEs) characterized as mild and deemed unrelated to trial drug.
Clinically meaningful improvements in platelet counts were seen across ITP classifications and standard of care and included:
Lasting IgG reductions consistent with levels achieved in previous studies (updated results) included:
Bleeding events were assessed using three metrics—adverse event reporting, the WHO scale and the ITP-BAT scale—and showed that efgartigimod reduced bleeding events (updated results) across each scale including:
Key AML Clinical Results
argenx is currently enrolling an initial 21 AML patients in the Phase 2 part of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial using the 10 mg/kg dose of cusatuzumab.
“We continue to be excited by the encouraging dataset from our Phase 1/2 trial of cusatuzumab in AML and MDS. This agent targets the CD70/CD27 pathway which has the potential to be a novel and selective mechanism in treating newly diagnosed AML patents regardless of age or cytogenetic profile. Today we are seeing a growing depth of responses from patients on cusatuzumab, with 10 out of 12 patients reaching complete response and 8 of these 10 with hematologic recovery, which patients tolerated well. Six patients remain on trial, and we will watch as these data mature, including the durability of responses,” added Nicolas Leupin, Chief Medical Officer of argenx.
Efgartigimod (ARGX-113) is an investigational therapy for IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases and was designed to exploit the natural interaction between IgG antibodies and the recycling receptor FcRn. Efgartigimod is the Fc-portion of an IgG1 antibody that has been modified by the argenx proprietary ABDEG™ technology to increase its affinity for FcRn beyond that of normal IgG antibodies. As a result, efgartigimod blocks antibody recycling through FcRn binding and leads to fast depletion of the autoimmune disease-causing IgG autoantibodies. The development work on efgartigimod is conducted in close collaboration with Prof. E. Sally Ward (University of Texas Southwestern Medical and Texas A&M University Health Science Center, a part of Texas A&M University (TAMHSC)).
Cusatuzumab (ARGX-110) is an investigational SIMPLE Antibody™ targeting CD70, an immune checkpoint target involved in hematological malignancies, several solid tumors and severe autoimmune diseases. Cusatuzumab is designed to: block CD70, kill cancer cells expressing CD70 through complement dependent cytotoxicity, enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated phagocytosis and enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and restore immune surveillance against solid tumors (Silence K. et al. mAbs 2014; 6 (2):523-532). Cusatuzumab is currently being evaluated in patients with hematological malignancies, including a Phase 1/2 trial in combination with Vidaza® in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes and the Phase 2 part of a Phase 1/2 trial in patients with relapsed/refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Preclinical work on cusatuzumab in AML was performed in collaboration with the Tumor Immunology Lab of Prof. A. F. Ochsenbein at the University of Bern, who won, together with Prof. Manz at the University Hospital of Zürich, the prestigious 2016 Otto Naegeli Prize for his breakthrough research on CD70/CD27 signaling with therapeutic potential for cancer patients.
argenx is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a deep pipeline of differentiated antibody-based therapies for the treatment of severe auto-immune diseases and cancer. The company is focused on developing product candidates with the potential to be either first-in-class against novel targets or best-in-class against known, but complex, targets in order to treat diseases with a significant unmet medical need. argenx’s ability to execute on this focus is enabled by its suite of differentiated technologies. The SIMPLE AntibodyTM Platform, based on the powerful llama immune system, allows argenx to exploit novel and complex targets, and its three complementary Fc engineering technologies are designed to expand the therapeutic index of its product candidates.