CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that it has initiated a Phase 1 study with ALN-AT3, a subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) for the treatment of hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders (RBD). ALN-AT3 has demonstrated efficacy in animal models of hemophilia, including in non-human primate models of induced hemophilia. Moreover, pre-clinical studies of ALN-AT3 support a wide therapeutic index in the hemophilia setting. ALN-AT3 is a key program in the company’s “Alnylam 5x15” product strategy, which is aimed at advancing multiple RNAi therapeutic genetic medicine programs into clinical development. Alnylam recently announced that it expects to exceed its original “Alnylam 5x15” guidance with six to seven genetic medicine programs in clinical development by the end of 2015, including at least two programs in Phase 3 and five to six programs that will have achieved human proof-of-concept results supporting further development.
“Hemophilia and other rare bleeding disorders are characterized by deficiencies in specific clotting factors that ultimately lead to inadequate thrombin generation and a bleeding diathesis. ALN-AT3 is aimed at correcting these bleeding disorders by knockdown of AT - an endogenous anticoagulant - thus, increasing thrombin generation and improving hemostasis,” said Akshay Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Alnylam. “Our pre-clinical results have demonstrated a promising activity profile for ALN-AT3 in hemophilia animal models, and our results in non-human primate studies are particularly encouraging in light of the excellent human translation we have seen with RNAi therapeutics. In addition, we have shown in preclinical studies that ALN-AT3 administration is associated with a very wide therapeutic index in the hemophilia setting. We are excited to be advancing this product candidate – notably, our second GalNAc-conjugate program – into a Phase 1 trial, and look forward to sharing initial data by the end of the year.”
The Phase 1 study is being conducted in the U.K. as a single- and multi-dose, dose-escalation study consisting of two parts. Part A will be a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose, dose-escalation study, enrolling up to 24 healthy volunteer subjects. The primary objective of this part of the study is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of a single low dose of ALN-AT3, with the potential secondarily to show changes in AT plasma levels at sub-pharmacologic doses. Part B of the study will be an open-label, multi-dose, dose-escalation study enrolling up to 18 people with moderate to severe hemophilia A or B. The primary objective of this part of the study is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of multiple doses of subcutaneously administered ALN-AT3 in hemophilia subjects. Secondary objectives include assessment of clinical activity as determined by knockdown of circulating AT levels and increase in thrombin generation at pharmacologic doses of ALN-AT3. Thrombin generation is known to be a biomarker for bleeding frequency and severity in people with hemophilia (Dargaud, et al., Thromb Haemost; 93, 475-480 (2005)). The company expects to present initial data from the Phase 1 study in late 2014.
“The unmet need for new therapeutic options to treat people with hemophilia remains very high, particularly in those patients that develop inhibitory antibodies to their replacement factor. Indeed, availability of a safe and effective subcutaneously administered therapeutic with a long duration of action would represent a marked improvement over currently available approaches for prophylaxis,” said Claude Negrier, M.D., head of the Hematology Department and director of the Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre at Edouard Herriot University Hospital in Lyon. “I continue to be encouraged by Alnylam’s progress to date with ALN-AT3, including pre-clinical data demonstrating correction of impaired thrombin generation in a non-human primate ‘inhibitor’ model. These results are particularly important since clinical studies have demonstrated that thrombin generation correlates strongly with bleeding phenotype; severe hemophilia patients have low thrombin generation as compared to moderate and mild patients who have significantly higher levels. I look forward to the continued advancement of this innovative therapeutic candidate in clinical studies.”
Alnylam presented pre-clinical data at the XXIV Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) in July 2013. Results showed that ALN-AT3 achieves rapid, dose-dependent, and durable knockdown of AT in rodents and non-human primates. In non-human primates, weekly subcutaneous doses as low as 0.125 mg/kg led to a 50% knockdown of AT, while weekly doses of 0.50 mg/kg led to approximately 90% knockdown. In addition, ALN-AT3 administration was found to normalize thrombin generation and improve hemostasis in hemophilia mice and fully correct thrombin generation in a non-human primate (NHP) hemophilia “inhibitor” model. More recently, at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in December 2013, Alnylam presented pre-clinical results showing that repeat administration of ALN-AT3 was well tolerated in Hemophilia A (HA) mice, with no adverse findings up to dose levels 200 times greater than those required to achieve 50% AT knockdown. Results from these studies also demonstrated that ALN-AT3 administration achieved complete correction of the activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT) - an ex vivo measure of blood coagulation that is significantly prolonged in hemophilia - in HA mice. Collectively, the company believes these data suggest a substantially expanded therapeutic index of AT knockdown in the hemophilia disease condition, and confirm the potential of ALN-AT3 to reset insufficient thrombin generation and improve hemostasis in people with hemophilia.
In early 2014, Alnylam formed a broad multi-product, geographic alliance with Genzyme, a Sanofi company, related to the global development and commercialization of Alnylam’s “5x15” and future genetic medicine programs. In the case of ALN-AT3, Genzyme will have the right to opt-in after completion of human proof-of-concept to either co-develop and co-promote with Alnylam in North America and Western Europe - with Genzyme commercializing in the rest of world (ROW) - or to commercialize the product in the ROW. In both circumstances, Alnylam will lead and control development and commercialization in North America and Western Europe. This transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, and is subject to customary closing conditions and clearances under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
About Hemophilia and Rare Bleeding Disorders
Hemophilias are hereditary disorders caused by genetic deficiencies of various blood clotting factors, resulting in recurrent bleeds into joints, muscles, and other major internal organs. Hemophilia A is defined by loss-of-function mutations in Factor VIII, and there are greater than 40,000 registered patients in the U.S. and E.U. Hemophilia B, defined by loss-of-function mutations in Factor IX, affects greater than 9,500 registered patients in the U.S. and E.U. Other Rare Bleeding Disorders (RBD) are defined by congenital deficiencies of other blood coagulation factors, including Factors II, V, VII, X, and XI, and there are about 1,000 patients worldwide with a severe bleeding phenotype. Standard treatment for hemophilia patients involves replacement of the missing clotting factor either as prophylaxis or on-demand therapy. However, as many as one third of people with severe hemophilia A will develop an antibody to their replacement factor - a very serious complication; these 'inhibitor' patients become refractory to standard replacement therapy. There exists a small subset of hemophilia patients who have co-inherited a prothrombotic mutation, such as Factor V Leiden, antithrombin deficiency, protein C deficiency, and prothrombin G20210A. Hemophilia patients that have co-inherited these prothrombotic mutations are characterized as having a later onset of disease, lower risk of bleeding, and reduced requirements for Factor VIII or Factor IX treatment as part of their disease management. There exists a significant need for novel therapeutics to treat hemophilia patients.
About Antithrombin (AT)
Antithrombin (AT, also known as “antithrombin III” and "SERPINC1") is a liver expressed plasma protein and member of the "serpin" family of proteins that acts as an important endogenous anticoagulant by inactivating Factor Xa and thrombin. AT plays a key role in normal hemostasis, which has evolved to balance the need to control blood loss through clotting with the need to prevent pathologic thrombosis through anticoagulation. In hemophilia, the loss of certain procoagulant factors (Factor VIII and Factor IX, in the case of hemophilia A and B, respectively) results in an imbalance of the hemostatic system toward a bleeding phenotype. In contrast, in thrombophilia (e.g., Factor V Leiden, protein C deficiency, antithrombin deficiency, amongst others), certain mutations result in an imbalance in the hemostatic system toward a thrombotic phenotype. Since co-inheritance of prothrombotic mutations may ameliorate the clinical phenotype in hemophilia, inhibition of AT defines a novel strategy for improving hemostasis.
About GalNAc Conjugates
GalNAc-siRNA conjugates are a proprietary Alnylam delivery platform and are designed to achieve targeted delivery of RNAi therapeutics to hepatocytes through uptake by the asialoglycoprotein receptor. Research findings demonstrate potent and durable target gene silencing, as well as a wide therapeutic index, with subcutaneously administered GalNAc-siRNAs from multiple "Alnylam 5x15" programs.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as “a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so,” and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNA (siRNA), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics as genetic medicines, including programs as part of the company’s “Alnylam 5x15TM” product strategy. Alnylam’s genetic medicine programs are RNAi therapeutics directed toward genetically defined targets for the treatment of serious, life-threatening diseases with limited treatment options for patients and their caregivers. These include: patisiran (ALN-TTR02), an intravenously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting transthyretin (TTR) for the treatment of TTR-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR) in patients with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP); ALN-TTRsc, a subcutaneously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting TTR for the treatment of ATTR in patients with familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy (FAC); ALN-AT3, an RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) for the treatment of hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders (RBD); ALN-CC5, an RNAi therapeutic targeting complement component C5 for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases; ALN-AS1, an RNAi therapeutic targeting aminolevulinate synthase-1 (ALAS-1) for the treatment of hepatic porphyrias including acute intermittent porphyria (AIP); ALN-PCS, an RNAi therapeutic targeting PCSK9 for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia; ALN-AAT, an RNAi therapeutic targeting alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) for the treatment of AAT deficiency liver disease; ALN-TMP, an RNAi therapeutic targeting TMPRSS6 for the treatment of beta-thalassemia and iron-overload disorders; and ALN-ANG, an RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of genetic forms of mixed hyperlipidemia and severe hypertriglyceridemia, amongst other programs. As part of its “Alnylam 5x15” strategy, as updated in early 2014, the company expects to have six to seven genetic medicine product candidates in clinical development - including at least two programs in Phase 3 and five to six programs with human proof of concept - by the end of 2015. The company’s demonstrated commitment to RNAi therapeutics has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Cubist, GlaxoSmithKline, Ascletis, Monsanto, The Medicines Company, and Genzyme, a Sanofi company. In January 2014, Alnylam agreed to acquire Sirna Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck. In addition, Alnylam holds an equity position in Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 200 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world’s top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Cell, the New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
About “Alnylam 5x15™” and Genetic Medicines
The “Alnylam 5x15” strategy, launched in January 2011, establishes a path for development and commercialization of novel RNAi therapeutics as genetic medicines. Alnylam’s genetic medicine programs are RNAi therapeutics directed toward genetically defined targets for the treatment of diseases with high unmet medical need. These programs share several key characteristics including: a genetically defined target and disease expressed in the liver; the potential to have a major impact in a high unmet need population; the ability to leverage the existing Alnylam RNAi platform with clinically proven delivery to the liver; the opportunity to monitor an early biomarker in Phase 1 clinical trials for human proof of concept; and the existence of clinically relevant endpoints for the filing of a new drug application (NDA) with a focused patient database and possible accelerated paths for commercialization. As updated in early 2014, the company expects to have six to seven genetic medicine product candidates in clinical development - including at least two programs in Phase 3 and five to six programs with human proof of concept - by the end of 2015. The “Alnylam 5x15” programs include: patisiran (ALN-TTR02), an intravenously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting transthyretin (TTR) in development for the treatment of TTR-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR) in patients with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP); ALN-TTRsc, a subcutaneously delivered RNAi therapeutic targeting TTR in development for the treatment of ATTR in patients with familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy (FAC); ALN-AT3, an RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) in development for the treatment of hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders (RBD); ALN-CC5, an RNAi therapeutic targeting complement component C5 in development for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases; ALN-AS1, an RNAi therapeutic targeting aminolevulinate synthase-1 (ALAS-1) in development for the treatment of porphyria including acute intermittent porphyria (AIP); ALN-PCS, an RNAi therapeutic targeting PCSK9 in development for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia; ALN-AAT, an RNAi therapeutic targeting alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) for the treatment of AAT deficiency liver disease; ALN-TMP, an RNAi therapeutic targeting TMPRSS6 in development for the treatment of beta-thalassemia and iron-overload disorders; and ALN-ANG, an RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of genetic forms of mixed hyperlipidemia and severe hypertriglyceridemia, amongst other programs. In 2014, Alnylam and Genzyme, a Sanofi company, formed a multi-product geographic alliance on Alnylam’s genetic medicine programs. Specifically, Alnylam will lead development and commercialization of programs in North America and Europe, while Genzyme will develop and commercialize products in the rest of world. In addition, Alnylam and Genzyme will co-develop and co-commercialize ALN-TTRsc in North America and Europe.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this press release concerning Alnylam’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, Alnylam’s expectations regarding its “Alnylam 5x15” product strategy, Alnylam’s views with respect to the potential for RNAi therapeutics, including ALN-AT3, and its expectations regarding reporting data from its ongoing and planned clinical studies, including its studies for ALN-AT3, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, Alnylam’s ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates and delivery approaches, successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates, the pre-clinical and clinical results for its product candidates, which may not support further development of product candidates, actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials, obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property, Alnylam’s ability to enforce its patents against infringers and defend its patent portfolio against challenges from third parties, obtaining regulatory approval for products, competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam’s and others developing products for similar uses, Alnylam’s ability to obtain additional funding to support its business activities and establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, Alnylam’s dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of products, the outcome of litigation, and unexpected expenditures, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” filed with Alnylam’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in other filings that Alnylam makes with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam’s views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Alnylam explicitly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.