Medgenics Phase IIa Positive Results
Medgenics provided an update on results from the first four patients treated thus far in its ongoing Phase IIa clinical trial in Israel of EPODURE™ Biopumps to treat anemia in patients on dialysis with end-stage renal disease (“ESRD”). Each of the four patients had been receiving routine EPO injections with each dialysis session until his or her EPODURE Biopumps were administered by subcutaneous implantation. Initial and on-going experience to date in ESRD patients is in line with observations from the company’s prior Phase I/II study in anemic pre-dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (“CKD”). To date, there have not been any procedure or drug related serious adverse events. Thus far in this single treatment study, each patient has received a single administration of EPODURE Biopumps, measured to produce between 19 to 51 IU EPO per kg per day, in place of the serial injections of EPO or ESA the patient had been receiving with each dialysis session. Following the administration of EPODURE Biopumps, the hemoglobin in these patients remained in the desired 9-11 g/dl range for approximately 2-4 months, without needing any EPO or other ESA injections. Notably, at no point following EPODURE treatment did the concentration of EPO in the serum of the patients exceed the typical normal range and always remained under 100 mU/ml. As the first study with EPODURE Biopumps in ESRD patients on dialysis, this Phase IIa study is testing administration techniques and dosing to determine how long a single treatment using EPODURE Biopumps can replace the periodic injections of EPO or other erythropoietic stimulating agents (“ESAs”) currently used in the standard care of such patients, while maintaining the patient’s hemoglobin within the desired range. The current standard of care for ESRD patients on dialysis involves EPO or ESA injections with each dialysis session, which is typically three times per week. Each injection is short-lived, typically causing an extreme transient elevation of EPO in the patient’s blood to levels of several thousand milliUnits/ml, typically 10-100 times the normal physiological levels, followed by a decline to ineffective levels within a few days, so the patient may not have sufficient EPO or ESA until the next injection. The high transient levels of EPO in the blood are a source of potential safety concern to many medical experts as well as to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), and is in marked contrast with the normal EPO levels maintained with EPODURE, as reported above. Medgenics is developing and commercializing Biopump™, a proprietary tissue-based platform technology for the sustained production and delivery of therapeutic proteins using the patient’s own tissue for the treatment of a range of chronic diseases including anemia, hepatitis and hemophilia, among others.