Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANTH), a biopharmaceutical company developing drugs to treat serious diseases associated with inflammation and autoimmune disorders, today announced results from the Phase 2b PEARL-SC clinical study in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
The purpose of the PEARL-SC study was to identify an effective and safe dose for future phase 3 clinical studies and explore key inclusion criteria and clinical endpoints in an effort to maximize differentiation of blisibimod from currently available therapies. The 200mg weekly subcutaneous dose of blisibimod demonstrated a strong
trend in improved clinical response as early as week 16 (p= 0.14), at
the primary endpoint (p=0.15) and throughout week 44 including a
statistically significant improvement at week 20 versus placebo
In a predefined phase 3 target population of severely ill, seropositive lupus patients, defined as SELENA-SLEDAI ≥10 and receiving background corticosteroid medication, a more pronounced effect was seen in the 200mg weekly dose group demonstrating a 13.8% treatment difference compared to placebo at 24 weeks. In this subgroup, planned for phase 3 studies, separation of clinical response occurred as early as week 8 and was also sustained through week 44.
"The extensive data in the target severe population from our Phase 2 clinical program supports the initiation of a much smaller yet differentiated Phase 3 registration plan with the selected dose of blisibimod in patients with severe systemic lupus erythematosus. We have prospectively demonstrated for the first time the possibility for a subcutaneously administered BAFF inhibitor to be used in the treatment of a severe lupus population. The subgroup of severe patients from our Phase 2 study clearly identifies those patients most in need of therapy and most likely to benefit from our potent BAFF inhibitor blisibimod," said Paul F. Truex, Anthera's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Feedback from the EMA Scientific Advice process combined with an End of Phase 2 meeting in the third quarter will form the basis of our final phase 3 study designs."