Galapagos NV has announced positive topline results with its autotaxin inhibitor GLPG1690 in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the FLORA phase IIa trial.
FLORA was an exploratory, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating a once-daily oral dose of GLPG1690. The drug candidate was administered for 12 weeks in 23 IPF patients, 17 of whom received GLPG1690 and 6 placebo. Primary objectives of the trial were to assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of GLPG1690 in an IPF patient population. Secondary objectives included the evaluation of lung function, changes in disease biomarkers, FRI and quality of life. The IPF diagnosis was confirmed by central reading. The baseline characteristics of the recruited population were in line with published data in similarly conducted studies and were balanced between active and placebo. Patients with previous experience on nintedanib or pirfenidone were required to have discontinued treatment with either agent for at least four weeks prior to initiating treatment with GLPG1690.
Over the 12-week period, patients receiving GLPG1690 showed an FVC increase of 8 mL, while patients on placebo showed an FVC reduction of 87 mL (mean from baseline). Such reductions in FVC in the placebo arm were in line with expectations based on similarly conducted third-party studies in IPF patients. In addition to the demonstrated absence of lung function decline over the 12 week period, more sensitive functional respiratory imaging (FRI) confirmed disease stabilization in the GLPG1690 arm, versus disease progression in the placebo arm, reaching statistical significance on two specific parameters.
Patients on GLPG1690 treatment showed a clear reduction of serum LPA18:2, a biomarker for autotaxin inhibition, as expected based on the mechanism of action of GLPG1690. Thus, the level of target engagement observed in phase 1 with healthy volunteers was confirmed in IPF patients in FLORA.
GLPG1690 was found to be generally well tolerated in this phase II trial. Rates of discontinuation due to adverse events, as well as serious adverse event rates, were similar between patients on GLPG1690 and placebo.Galapagos plans to rapidly progress GLPG1690 in a late stage trial and had already discussions with regulators regarding trial design.
“Galapagos’ results with GLPG1690 are extremely exciting and exceed those of previous studies. This brings hope to patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that new effective treatment may be on the horizon. Importantly, some patients even showed an increase of lung function within only 12 weeks of treatment, and the drug was well tolerated. The results from FLORA beg the question how patients will fare with longer treatment. I urge Galapagos and the IPF community to progress to the next phase of clinical trials as rapidly as possible,” said Dr. Toby Maher, Professor of Interstitial Lung Disease at Imperial College, London and Consultant Physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, London.
“Not only does GLPG1690 show early promise as a potential therapy for IPF, but it also marks an important milestone for Galapagos as a company: proof of concept in patients of a second mechanism of action coming from our target discovery platform. Galapagos has shown that this platform continues to deliver novel mechanisms of action beyond JAK1 in inflammation. The stabilization of FVC over 12 weeks upon GLPG1690 treatment is a major milestone in IPF, where, by way of reference, the currently approved treatments show a decrease of approximately 30 mL over the same treatment period,” added Dr. Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos.
Galapagos plans to report the FLORA study results at a future medical conference.