Celgene International Sàrl, a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) today presented the results from ESTEEM 1, the Company’s first phase III study in psoriasis, at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in Miami, Florida.
“I see this as a prime candidate for future management of psoriasis that allows us to treat a range of patients, including more moderate cases earlier on”
The company previously announced statistical significance for the primary and major secondary endpoint of PASI-75 at Week 16 and the Static Physician Global Assessment for patients receiving apremilast in the ESTEEM 1&2 phase III studies. ESTEEM 1&2 are the phase III registrational randomized, placebo-controlled studies evaluating the Company’s oral small-molecule inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis.
ESTEEM 1, presented today, evaluated efficacy and safety in a range of patients. Approximately one-third of the study population was systemic and/or phototherapy treatment-naïve. Nearly 30 percent of the overall study population had prior biologic therapy, which included biologic-failures.
In the ESTEEM 1 study, a significantly higher percentage of apremilast-treated patients demonstrated PASI-75 at week 16 than did placebo patients (33.1% vs. 5.3%; P<0.0001). Significantly higher PASI-75 scores at week 16 were demonstrated across all patient segments enrolled in this study, including systemic-naïve and biologic-naïve patients receiving apremilast 30 mg BID compared with placebo (38.7% vs. 7.6%; P<0.0001 and 35.8% vs. 5.9%; P<0.0001 respectively). Apremilast demonstrated maintenance of effect over time, as measured by the Mean Percent Change from Baseline in PASI score over 32 weeks, with apremilast demonstrating a 54.9% reduction at week 16 and a 61.9% reduction at week 32.
Statistical significance at week 16 was also demonstrated in the major secondary endpoint, Static Physician Global Assessment (sPGA) of clear or almost clear (P<0.0001), and other key secondary endpoints (change in BSA, Pruritus VAS, DLQI), as well as in assessments of difficult to treat areas (nail and scalp psoriasis).
“I see this as a prime candidate for future management of psoriasis that allows us to treat a range of patients, including more moderate cases earlier on,” said Kristian Reich, M.D., SCIderm Research Institute and Dermatologikum Hamburg, Germany.
The overall safety and tolerability profile was consistent with results from previously reported phase III psoriatic arthritis trials. No cases of tuberculosis or lymphoma were observed through week 16, and there was no increased risk of cardiovascular events or serious opportunistic infection. Apremilast was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse events (AEs) greater than placebo were diarrhea, nausea and headache. Greater than 96% of patients in the study reported no AEs or mild to moderate AEs. A similar percentage of patients reported both serious AEs and severe AEs in the apremilast 30 mg BID treatment group compared to placebo (2.1% vs. 2.8% and 3.6% vs. 3.2%, respectively).
An NDA submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, based on the combined ESTEEM 1&2 studies for psoriasis, is expected in the second half of 2013. The Company previously announced it expects to file a separate NDA for psoriatic arthritis in the first quarter of 2013. A combined PsA/psoriasis MAA submission in Europe is also planned for the second half of 2013.
Top-line positive results from the two pivotal, randomized, placebo-controlled phase III studies of apremilast in psoriasis (ESTEEM 1&2) were released in January 2013. The studies included more than 1,200 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis and are ongoing. Results from PSOR-005, a phase IIb dose-range study, were recently published in The Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60642-4/fulltext).
About ESTEEM 1 & 2
ESTEEM 1 & 2 are two pivotal phase III randomized, placebo-controlled studies evaluating apremilast in subjects with a diagnosis of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis for at least 12 months prior to the screening, and at baseline, and who were also candidates for phototherapy and/or systemic therapy. Approximately 1,250 patients were randomized 2:1 to receive either apremilast 30 mg BID or placebo for the first 16 weeks, followed by a maintenance phase from weeks 16-32 in which placebo subjects were switched to apremilast 30 mg BID through week 32, and a randomized withdrawal phase for responders from Week 32-Week 52 based on their initial apremilast randomization and PASI response.
Apremilast, an oral small-molecule inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), works intracellularly to modulate a network of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators. PDE4 is a cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-specific PDE and the dominant PDE in inflammatory cells (see http://discoverpde4.com/). PDE4 inhibition elevates intracellular cAMP levels, which in turn down-regulates the inflammatory response by modulating the expression of TNF-α, IL-23, and other inflammatory cytokines. Elevation of cAMP also increases anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10. To learn more go to www.discoverpde4.com/.
Top-line positive results from three pivotal randomized, placebo-controlled phase III studies of apremilast in PsA (PALACE 1, 2 & 3) were released in September 2012. PALACE 1 was also presented as an oral presentation at the ACR annual meeting in November 2012. Taken together, the PALACE program comprises the most comprehensive psoriatic arthritis studies to date intended for regulatory submission.
Results from PSA-001, the phase II study of apremilast in psoriatic arthritis, were recently published online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.34627/abstract).
A randomized, placebo-controlled phase III study (POSTURE) of apremilast in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) began enrolling patients in April 2012. AS, a debilitating disease, which may cause fusion of the spine, arthritis, inflammation of the eye and damage to the heart, affects approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. and Europe. The trial will randomize approximately 450 patients to receive 20 mg or 30 mg apremilast BID, or placebo BID.
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated, non-contagious chronic inflammatory skin disorder of unknown cause. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. About 80 percent of people who develop psoriasis have plaque psoriasis, which appears as patches of raised, reddish skin covered by silvery-white scales. These patches, or plaques, frequently form on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp. Psoriasis occurs nearly equally in males and females. Recent studies show that there may be an ethnic link. Psoriasis is believed to be most common in Caucasians and slightly less common in other ethnic groups. Worldwide, psoriasis is most common in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe. About 10 percent to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis also develop a condition called psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.
Celgene International Sàrl, located in Boudry, in the Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, is a wholly owned subsidiary and international headquarters of Celgene Corporation. Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global pharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at www.celgene.com.
Apremilast is an orally available small molecule inhibitor of PDE4 being developed by Celgene for ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. The drug is currently in phase III trials for the three indications. Apremilast, an anti-inflammatory drug, specifically inhibits phosphodiesterase 4. In general the drug works on an intra-cellular basis to moderate proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediator production.
Apremilast is being tested for its efficacy in treating “psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, Behcet’s disease, and rheutmatoid arthritis.”
- “Apremilast Palace Program Demonstrates Robust and Consistent Statistically Significant Clinical Benefit Across Three Pivotal Phase III Studies (PALACE-1, 2 & 3) in Psoriatic Arthritis” (Press release). Celgene Corporation. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- “US HOT STOCKS: OCZ, VeriFone, Men’s Wearhouse, AK Steel, Celgene”. The Wall Street Journal. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-06