Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held emerging specialty pharmaceuticals company, today announced data from its ECLIPSE trial (Epanova Compared to Lovaza In a Pharmacokinetic Single-dose Evaluation), designed to evaluate the bioavailability of Epanova™, the Company's lead compound for the treatment of very high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 500 mg/dL), in comparison to Lovaza®, the leading prescription Omega 3. Epanova is an Omega 3 fatty acid compound containing a novel formulation of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The primary objective of the 54 subject, randomized, open-label, four-way cross-over pharmacokinetics (PK) study, was to compare the bioavailability of EPA and DHA over 24 hours from either Epanova and Lovaza as single 4-gram doses with low- or high-fat diets.
Data from the trial showed that the bioavailability of Epanova was dramatically superior to Lovaza. Specifically, the plasma level of EPA+DHA in subjects on a low-fat diet who received Epanova was over four times higher than those given Lovaza. Epanova also demonstrated significantly higher EPA+DHA levels than Lovaza on a high-fat diet. In a separate analysis, Epanova demonstrated a 13-fold increase in bioavailability of EPA over Lovaza in subjects consuming a low-fat diet in this study.
Commenting on today's news, Dr. Michael Davidson, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Omthera Pharmaceuticals, noted, "We are extremely pleased with the very impressive results generated by this head-to-head comparative bioavailability study, which, for the first time, demonstrate that Epanova, a free fatty acid (FFA) form of EPA and DHA, has significantly better bioavailability than Lovaza, an ethyl ester EPA and DHA product, in subjects on a high-fat diet; and dramatically higher bioavailability in subjects consuming a low-fat diet. The ECLIPSE study demonstrates that Lovaza is poorly absorbed in patients on a low-fat diet. We believe that this finding will have significant clinical importance because patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia should be maintained on a low-fat diet. The data from this study clearly demonstrates that Epanova will provide superior blood levels of Omega 3's with both low- and high-fat diets."
"The results of Omthera's ECLIPSE study confirm the superior absorption profile of Epanova versus the only currently marketed prescription Omega 3 therapy, and is the last step in our development program prior to initiating a pivotal Phase 3 trial evaluating Epanova in patients with very high triglycerides, which we aim to begin during the first quarter of 2011," said Jerry Wisler, President, Chief Executive Officer, and co-founder of Omthera.
John J. P. Kastelein, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam, and a member of Omthera's Scientific Advisory Board, stated, "While studies have shown that FFA forms of Omega 3 have superior bioavailability versus others, including the currently prescribed ethyl ester formulation found in Lovaza, the positive PK results generated by Omthera's ECLIPSE study are even more notable than I had expected. The data strongly suggest that Epanova could ultimately represent an important improvement in the management of patients suffering from severe hypertriglyceridemia. I look forward to the continued development of this novel prescription Omega 3."
Dr. Davidson concluded, "The dramatic rise in obesity over the last 10 to 20 years has led to a concomitant increase in triglyceride levels among the population and a shift in clinician's awareness to the critical role that high triglyceride levels have as a predictor of cardiovascular events. Since patients with very high triglycerides should be placed on a low-fat diet, an Omega 3 product that is better absorbed with a low-fat diet, as Epanova has demonstrated in the ECLIPSE study, would likely be a significant improvement over the ethyl ester Omega 3s."