FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation For Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mr. Tosh Butt Vice President, Respiratory AstraZeneca

Mr. Butt


Mr. Tosh Butt

Vice President, Respiratory
AstraZeneca

Mr. Butt discusses the recent announcement that the FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation for Fasenra for the treatment of Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis. 


MedicalResearch.com:
What is the background for this announcement? Can you tell us a little more about Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis/Churg Strauss? How does it differ/resemble severe eosinophilic asthma?

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) for FASENRA™ (benralizumab) for the treatment of Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA). The ODD application was based on epidemiology demonstrating the rarity of the disease (<200k US patients) and a scientific rationale that FASENRA may benefit patients with this condition. The core role of eosinophilia in EGPA and FASENRA’s demonstrated eosinophil-depleting properties provided this rationale and suggest it may deliver benefit to patients with EGPA.
  • EGPA is a rare autoimmune disease that can cause damage to multiple organs and tissues. EGPA is characterized by inflammation of blood vessels and the presence of elevated levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. All patients with EGPA have very high levels of eosinophils at some point in their disease. FASENRA induces rapid and near-complete depletion of eosinophils in the blood and has proven efficacy in severe eosinophilic asthma, which suggest it may deliver benefit to patients with EGPA. 

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Asthma: Biologic Benralizumab (FASENRA) Reduced Need For Rescue Medication

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Asthma Inhaler” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sean O’Quinn MPH
Director, Patient Reported Outcomes
AstraZeneca 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does benralizumab differ from traditional medications for asthma?

Response:  FASENRA™ (benralizumab 30mg for subcutaneous injection as add-on maintenance therapy in severe eosinophilic asthma for patients 12 years and older) has a strong clinical profile, including powerful efficacy against exacerbations and the ability to improve lung function. Benralizumab is a respiratory biologic that binds directly to the IL-5α receptor on eosinophils and attracts natural killer cells to induce rapid and near-complete depletion of eosinophils via apoptosis. (NOTE: The mechanism of action of FASENRA in asthma has not been definitively established.) Benralizumab is not indicated for treatment of other eosinophilic conditions or for relief of acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus. The most common adverse reactions include headache and pharyngitis.

Dependence on rescue medications is indicative of poor asthma control. In the Phase III SIROCCO/CALIMA trials, patients with severe eosinophilic asthma had significantly reduced exacerbation frequency and improved lung function when treated with benralizumab 30mg Q8W (first three doses Q4W) vs. placebo.

Less was known about the effects of benralizumab on rescue medication usage—specifically daily total rescue medication use, daytime and nighttime rescue medication use, and nighttime awakenings requiring rescue medication use. The aim of this analysis was to understand the potential treatment effects of benralizumab on these parameters.  Continue reading

Dapagliflozin (FARXIGA): Reduction in Albuminuria Cannot Be Predicted by Clinical Characteristics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Danilo Verge.png

Dr. Verge

Danilo Verge MD MBA
Vice President, CVRM Global Medical Affairs
AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dapagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor (sodium-glucose co-transporter 2), has been shown to improve glycemic control by decreasing glucose reabsorption in the kidneys and inducing urinary glucose clearance. SGLT2 inhibitors have also been shown to be effective in lowering albuminuria and stabilizing eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate). The effect of dapagliflozin on UACR (urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio) has been shown to vary among patients.

The objective of this post-hoc analysis, based on the pooled data from 11 randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials, was to assess baseline characteristics and concurrent changes in cardiovascular (CV) risk markers associated with UACR response to dapagliflozin.

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Real-World Dosing of RAASi are Associated With Risk of Adverse Events in CKD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lei Qin

Lei Qin

Lei Qin MS
Director, Health Economics and Payer Analytics
AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASi) are guideline-recommended therapies for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but are commonly prescribed at suboptimal doses, which has been associated with worsening clinical outcomes. The objective of our study was to estimate the real-world associations between RAASi dose and adverse clinical outcomes in patients prescribed RAASi therapies with new-onset CKD in the UK.

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LOKELMA (Sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) for Elevated Potassium: Results of the HARMONIZE GLOBAL Study

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rahul Agrawal MD PhD VP, Global Medicines Leader AstraZeneca

Dr. Agrawal

Rahul Agrawal MD PhD
VP, Global Medicines Leader
AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

About the study: HARMONIZE Global is a Phase III, randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 267 patients with hyperkalemia (mean potassium levels greater than 5.0 mEq/L) in 47 study locations across the Asia Pacific region, which will support registration in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Russia.

Study design: The trial design of HARMONIZE Global is similar to HARMONIZE (NCT02088073) but evaluated two doses of LOKELMATM (sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) instead of three, as well as patients in different geographical regions. Continue reading

Asthma: Add-on Maintenance Treatment with FASENRA (benralizumab) Can Reduce Exacerbations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tosh Butt, MBA VP Respiratory AstraZeneca

Tosh Butt

Tosh Butt, MBA
VP Respiratory
AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How is benralizumab different from more traditional treatments for asthma?

    • BORA is a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, Phase III extension, and is one of six Phase III trials in the WINDWARD program in asthma. The current analysis includes results for 1,926 patients from the two placebo controlled exacerbation trials, SIROCCO (48 week) and CALIMA (56 weeks). BORA provides evidence that add on maintenance treatment with FASENRA (benralizumab) resulted in a consistent safety profile over a second year of treatment, with no increase in the frequencies of overall or serious adverse events, and sustained efficacy in terms of reducing asthma exacerbations, and improving lung function and asthma symptoms. The BORA trial results could provide confidence to patients with severe eosinophilic asthma and physicians that the positive outcomes they may be seeing with benralizumab can be maintained over a second year of treatment.
  • FASENRA, a different kind of respiratory biologic, has a strong clinical profile which includes the ability to show lung function improvement after the first dose, the potential to reduce – or even stop – oral steroid use, and the convenience of 8-week dosing (no other respiratory biologic offers this dosing). FASENRA is approved for add-on maintenance treatment of patients with severe asthma ages 12 years and older, and with an eosinophilic phenotype. FASENRA binds directly to the IL-5a receptor on an eosinophil and uniquely attracts natural killer cells to induce apoptosis, or cell death. Other biologics currently available are anti-IL5s – a passive approach that primarily acts to block differentiation and survival of the eosinophil.

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Two Studies Evaluate Monoclonal Antibody Tralokinumab For Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D. Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Vice Chancellor, Clinical & Translational Science Director, Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Child Health Institute of New Jersey Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ  08901

Dr. Panettieri

Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Vice Chancellor, Clinical & Translational Science
Director, Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Child Health Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ  08901

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Severe asthma is characterized by Type 2 inflammation manifested by increases in IL-13, IL-4 and Il-5 levels in the airways that promotes airway hyperresponsiveness and in part irreversible airway obstruction.  These clinical manifestations profoundly increase asthma morbidity and mortality.

To address an unmet therapeutic need, Tralokinumab was developed as a monoclonal antibody targeting soluble IL-13 with the goal of improving lung function and patient reported outcomes while decreasing annual exacerbation rates.  Stratus 1 and 2 represent two identical randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 clinical trials in severe asthma.  These international trials enrolled approximately 2000 subjects with severe asthma and examined whether Tralokinumab decreased annualized exacerbation rates (AER) as compared with placebo (primary outcome).

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Dapagliflozin (Farxiga®)Added to Insulin for Type 1 Diabetes May Improve Glycemic Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chantal Mathieu, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Dr. Mathieu

Chantal Mathieu, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology
Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are confronted often with the inability to achieve satisfactory glycemic control, being good HbA1c, but in particular stable glycemic control, avoiding hyperglycemic events, but also hypoglycemic events, despite novel insulins and novel technologies. Moreover, intensive insulin therapy is often associated with weight gain, leading to an increase in overweight and obesity also in people with T1D. All of these issues affect quality of life.

In the DEPICT 2 study we examined the impact of adding a selective SGLT2 inhibitor, dapagliflozin (two doses tested – 5 and 10mg) in a double blinded manner versus placebo to background insulin (MDI or CSII) in people with T1D reaching insufficient glycemic control (HbA1c 7.5-10.5%). Primary endpoint was lowering in HbA1c at 24 weeks and secondary endpoints included insulin dose reduction and weight reduction as well as a composite endpoint of having a HbA1c drop of >=0.5% without severe hypoglycemia. The study ran internationally, with about 1/3 of patients coming from North America, 1/3 from Europe and 1/5 from Asia (Japan).

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Lokelma Receives FDA Approval To Treat Elevated Potassium, Hyperkalemia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Fishbane, MD, Chief, Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, Northwell Health Vice President, Northwell Health for Network Dialysis Services, Northwell Health Professor of Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Lead investigator of the ZS 005 study.

Dr. Fishbane

Steven Fishbane, MD,
Chief, Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, Northwell Health
Vice President, Northwell Health for Network Dialysis Services, Northwell Health
Professor of Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Lead investigator of the ZS 005 study

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? Would you briefly explain what is meant by hyperkalemia?What are the dangers of an elevated potassium and how does LOKELMA differ from prior standard treatments?

 Response: Hyperkalemia is when the potassium in the blood rises to potentially harmful levels. High potassium is primarily harmful for the heart. As the potassium level rises the risk for abnormal electrical rhythms or disruption of the heart’s pumping occur. When severe, a high potassium level can cause death.

Lokelma has been demonstrated to be effective for lowering potassium levels with a great degree of consistency. It is well tolerated and has a fairly rapid onset of potassium lowering compared to other drugs for the purpose.  Continue reading

Oral Semaglutide As Effective As Injectable In Reducing A1C and Weight Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Melanie J Davies CBE MB ChB MD FRCP FRCGP Professor of Diabetes Medicine  NIHR Senior Investigator Emeritus Diabetes Research Centre Leicester Diabetes Centre – Bloom University of Leicester

Prof. Davies

Melanie J Davies CBE MB ChB MD FRCP FRCGP
Professor of Diabetes Medicine
NIHR Senior Investigator Emeritus
Diabetes Research Centre
Leicester Diabetes Centre – Bloom
University of Leicester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  This was the first study to test the effectiveness of an oral GLP-1 in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The main findings were that compared to both placebo and a GLP-1, Semaglutide, delivered by sub-cutaneous injection weekly, the oral therapy delivered once a day produced better results than placebo and similar results to injectable GLP-1 with regard to reductions in HbA1c and weight loss.

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Gender Gap in Myocardial Infarction Mortality Decreases Over Past 20 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dragana Radovanovic, MD 

Head of AMIS Plus Data Center
Hirschengraben Zürich

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: What we know so far? When a woman suffers a heart attack she is older, has consequently more cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, has more comorbidities, is less likely to receive the same therapies and more likely to die in hospital. Furthermore, we know from many hospital statistics and administrative data bases that in-hospital mortality of acute myocardial infarction patients has been on the decrease from 1970 to the early 2000’s. We then wanted to know what the situation looks like in Switzerland and therefore analyzed in-hospital mortality over the last 20 years with regard to gender, age and therapies. For this study we used the data of the nationwide AMIS Plus registry (Acute Myocardial Infarction in Switzerland) which exists since 1997 and continuously prospectively collects clinical data of patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction. We have found that during the last 20 years (from 1997 to the end of 2016) in-hospital mortality of patients with acute myocardial infarction in Switzerland has halved. Although in-hospital mortality was consistently higher in women, overall age-adjusted mortality has decreased more prominently in women compared to men. Especially in patients aged below 60 years a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality was observed in women but not in men.

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Trying Statins Again After Adverse Effect Linked To Lower Risk of Heart Attack

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander Turchin, MD,MS Director of Quality in Diabetes Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA

Dr. Turchin

Alexander TurchinMD,MS
Director of Quality in Diabetes
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Cardiovascular disease is the # 1 cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide. Statins are some of the most effective medications available for prevention of cardiovascular events.

However, many patients stop statins, frequently because of adverse reactions. In our study we aimed to assess the risk-benefit balance of trying a statin again after experiencing an adverse reaction.

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Adding Praluent (Alirocumab) To Statins Reduces LDL in High Cardiovascular Risk Diabetics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lawrence Leiter, M.D. MDCM, FRCPC, FACP, FACE, FAHA Chair of the ODYSSEY DM Steering Committee and Director of the Lipid Clinic at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St. Michael’s Hospital University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Lawrence Leiter

Lawrence Leiter, M.D. MDCM, FRCPC, FACP FACE, FAHA
Chair of the ODYSSEY DM Steering Committee and
Director of the Lipid Clinic at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital
University of Toronto, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ODYSSEY DM-INSULIN trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study that evaluated alirocumab (Praluent) in 517 patients with insulin treated type 1 and type 2 diabetes with high cardiovascular (CV) risk and hypercholesterolemia despite maximally tolerated dose (MTD) statins. The primary endpoint was percent change in calculated LDL-C from baseline to week 24.

Alirocumab 75 mg every two weeks was added to MTD statins, with the dose increased at week 12 to 150 mg every two weeks if the LDL-C at week 8 was greater than or equal to 70 mg/dL. In fact, only about 20% of the alirocumab treated participants required the higher dose.

Results of the type 2 diabetes study population (n=441) showed that the addition of alirocumab to MTD statin therapy, reduced LDL-C by 48.2 percent from baseline compared to a 0.8 percent increase for placebo. The mean difference between the two treatment arms was -49 percent (p<0.0001). Treatment with alirocumab also improved the overall lipid profile. Furthermore, no new safety issues were identified.

There is a large unmet need for improving cholesterol lowering in patients with diabetes. Despite current standard of care, nearly 70 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease; and 16 percent die of stroke. Additionally, in spite of current standard of care, many people with diabetes continue to have persistent lipid abnormalities resulting in high residual CV risk.

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Review of Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders According to Period of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florence Gressier MD PhD

Insermk Department of psychiatry
CHU de Bicêtrem Le Kremlin Bicêtre
France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Results from recent studies have suggested an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in children exposed to antidepressants in utero.

We performed a systematic review of and a meta-analysis of published studies to assess the association between ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester of pregnancy and preconception.

Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a significant association between increased ASD risk and maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy; however, it appears to be more consistent during the preconception period than during each trimester. In addition, the association was weaker when controlled for past maternal mental illness. Maternal psychiatric disorders in treatment before pregnancy rather than antenatal exposure to antidepressants could have a major role in the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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