Andromeda Biotech Ltd. announced initial results from a pivotal phase III clinical study. The 24-month study was randomized, placebo-controlled, designed to assess the safety and efficacy of DiaPep277®, a novel immunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of newly diagnosed patients with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The results from patients who were treated with DiaPep277® show that the study has met its primary endpoint, defined as the change from baseline in C-peptide levels at the end of the study. Significant preservation of C-peptide levels, a marker for assessing endogenous insulin secretion by pancreatic cells, was demonstrated in patients treated with DiaPep277® compared to the placebo arm. The decline in C-peptide levels was more pronounced in the placebo arm than in the treated group. The difference between the arms reached 0.949 nmol/L/20 minutes, (p=0.0374). This difference reflects a relative preservation of 23.4% compared to placebo. Evaluation of the primary endpoint was performed on patients in the modified ITT population who have at least one measurement post baseline.
The study also achieved a key secondary endpoint, showing that a greater proportion of DiaPep277® treated patients maintained good diabetic control compared to the placebo, measured by HbA1c levels equal or less than 7% at the end of the study (45.5% versus 35.7%, p =0.035 ). Initial safety data also indicate that DiaPep277® was well tolerated. No major differences in drug-related adverse events were reported between the treatment and placebo groups.
Additional analyses of clinical, efficacy and safety data from this study are ongoing. A second confirmatory, global Phase III study with DiaPep277® is currently being conducted at about 120 medical centers in the USA, Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina. Completion of patient recruitment for this study (450 patients) is anticipated by the first half of 2012.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA) took an equity position in Andromeda following interim phase III study results, and has an exclusive worldwide license to the DiaPep277® product.
The phase III clinical study included 457 newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes patients aged 16-45, randomized into two study groups in a 1:1 ratio. The trial was conducted in 40 medical centers in Europe, Israel and South Africa. All patients recruited to the study
DiaPep277®, a unique peptide of 24 amino acids derived from the sequence of the human heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60), was invented by Prof Irun Cohen and his team at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The peptide acts by modulating the immune system, thus preventing the destruction of pancreatic cells that secrete insulin, and preserving their natural function. Treatment of T1D patients with DiaPep277® may have several medical benefits including slowing the deterioration of the disease, improved metabolic control, reduction of daily insulin dose requirements, and reduction of diabetic complications.
To date, there is no therapy able to slow the progressive destruction of insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells in T1D. Initially, DiaPep277® is targeted to treat newly diagnosed T1D adult patients with residual insulin secreting cells. Additional target populations include newly diagnosed children with T1D, patients with a high risk of developing T1D, and T1D patients with slow progressing disease.