AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) announced today the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical study called SONAR (Study Of Diabetic Nephropathy with Atrasentan) to assess the effects of the investigational compound atrasentan - when added to standard of care - on progression of kidney disease in patients with stage 2 to 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and type 2 diabetes. SONAR is a large, multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study that is expected to enroll more than 4,000 patients with diabetic nephropathy. The study will evaluate atrasentan's impact on renal outcomes, such as the onset of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), as defined by need for chronic dialysis, transplant or death due to renal failure progression.
The initiation of the Phase 3 study follows results from Phase 2b studies, which were presented today during a late breaking clinical trials scientific session at the 2013 European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.
"There is a pressing need for new medications to treat nephropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes, who have a high risk to end up in dialysis," said Dick de Zeeuw , M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Department of Nephrology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and Co-Chair of the SONAR steering committee. "Phase 2 studies of atrasentan in this patient population have shown encouraging results, and we look forward to further evaluating this investigational treatment in the Phase 3 SONAR study."
Diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease, is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of CKD in the developed world. In the US, approximately 40 percent of patients with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy. Albuminuria - protein in the urine, as measured by urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) - is the main sign of diabetic nephropathy. As kidney function decreases, the level of protein in the urine rises, leading to further damage to the kidney. Previous research has suggested that endothelin receptors play a role in this process and drugs that target this receptor system, such as atrasentan, may have the potential to delay progression of CKD.
"We are committed to improving renal outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes, where there is significant unmet need," said James Stolzenbach, Ph.D., divisional vice president, dyslipidemia and renal, AbbVie. "If validated in Phase 3, atrasentan has the potential to provide a novel treatment option for type 2 diabetic kidney disease patients worldwide."