EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.' Drug Helps Memory in Early Study
Published: Jul 23, 2012
“One in eight Americans over the age of 65, or approximately five million people, currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and combined with the aging baby boomer generation that number is expected to triple by 2030,” said Jeffrey L. Cummings, M.D., Sc.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and Cleveland, and the Andrea and Joseph Hahn Chair of Neurotherapeutics of the Neurological Institute of Cleveland Clinic. “Despite extensive R&D efforts and a broad range of approaches taken by researchers and biotech and pharmaceutical companies over the past several decades, progress has been slow, the effectiveness of our current standard of care is limited and the patient need is critical. These data are compelling for the physician community and encouraging for patients and their families, and I am looking forward to learning more about how EVP-6124 may provide a new treatment option as it is further evaluated.”
“These positive data presented today mark an encouraging milestone for Alzheimer’s patients and for EnVivo,” said Kees Been, president and chief executive officer of EnVivo Pharmaceuticals. “The results position us to advance the EVP-6124 program to have the greatest possible impact on the greatest number of patients. With these positive Phase 2b data in hand, EnVivo has taken another step to potentially commercialize EVP-6124 and translate our promising research into a fully integrated biotechnology company with full commercial and R&D capabilities.”
The six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 409 patients and evaluated three doses of EVP-6124 taken once per day - 0.3 mg, 1.0 mg and 2.0 mg - against placebo. The trial included patients taking acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) treatments (donepezil and rivastigmine) as well as patients not taking AChEIs. The 2.0 mg dose group showed statistically significant effects for both of the trial’s primary endpoints compared to placebo after 23 weeks of dosing. Patients on the 2.0 mg dose saw an improvement in cognition (not just maintenance of current cognitive function) over the 23 weeks of dosing and were still separating from the placebo group at the end of the trial, as assessed by the ADAS-Cog-13, a commonly used outcome measure and established clinical endpoint (p=0.0189) for cognition. Patients on the 2.0 mg dose also saw a positive effect on clinical function, as assessed by the CDR-SB, a clinical rating scale that assesses patient function (p=0.0253).
The 2.0 mg dose group demonstrated statistically significant cognition improvements across pre-defined secondary endpoints compared to placebo after 23 weeks of dosing, including the cognition composite (p=0.0037), memory composite (p=0.0088) and executive function composite (p=0.0427). The 2.0 mg group also showed positive effects versus placebo, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (p=0.0955), and the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) (p=0.092). The 0.3 mg and 1.0 mg doses showed positive trends, but not statistically significant improvements over placebo. EVP-6124 was generally safe and well-tolerated with some mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects reported in a minority of patients in both the 1.0 mg and 2.0 mg dose groups.
“These data continue to support our understanding of EVP-6124’s novel mechanism and its development as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia,” said Dana Hilt, M.D., senior vice president, clinical development and chief medical officer of EnVivo. “In all of the studies we’ve conducted evaluating EVP-6124 to-date, we have seen pro-cognitive dose-dependent effects and we believe the novel mechanism has the potential to alleviate the undesirable side effects caused by other systemic compounds – for example, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors – which are dose-limited by side effects. We are extremely pleased with these results and look forward to initiating a Phase 3 trial next year.”
About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain. One in eight Americans over the age of 65, or approximately five million people, currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and with the aging of the baby boomer generation, the total number is expected to nearly triple by 2030. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Over time, the disease destroys large areas of the brain resulting in cellular loss and dysfunction, a gradual loss of memory, problems with reasoning or judgment, disorientation, difficulty in learning, loss of language skills, and decline in the ability to perform routine tasks. People with Alzheimer’s disease can also experience changes in their personalities and behavioral problems, such as agitation, anxiety, delusions and hallucinations.
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals’ lead compound, EVP-6124, is a selective, potent, brain penetrant, oral alpha-7 nicotinic agonist being developed as a long-term treatment to restore and improve cognitive function with sustained effect in Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. EVP-6124 offers a novel mechanism of action by enhancing synaptic transmission in the brain and acting as a co-agonist in combination with Acetylcholine (ACh) to enhance cognition. By sensitizing the alpha-7 receptor, EVP-6124 makes it possible for smaller amounts of naturally occurring ACh to be effective in activating the A7 receptor. This mechanism of action could potentially alleviate the undesirable side effects caused by other systemic compounds (for example, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or AChEIs), which are dose-limited by toxic side effects. EVP-6124 has also been shown to increase the levels of key neurotransmitters such as glutamate and dopamine in key brain areas, which may be linked to enhanced cognition, not only in Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, but in other diseases.
EnVivo announced positive topline data from its double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2b clinical trial of EVP-6124 in schizophrenia in May 2011 and presented a comprehensive analysis of these findings in December 2011. Results demonstrated that EVP-6124 produced statistically significant and clinically meaningful effects on both cognition and functional symptoms, including global cognitive function, clinical function and negative symptoms. Building upon these findings, EnVivo is planning to advance the program into Phase 3 clinical trials in 2012 with a primary focus on improving cognition in schizophrenia patients.
About EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“EnVivo Pharmaceuticals” or “EnVivo”) are dedicated to discovering and developing small molecule therapeutics for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biotech company located in Watertown, Mass. The company’s focus is on building an integrated company and it is working to convert its broad pipeline into a range of CNS therapies that leverage novel mechanisms of action by altering the progression of disease and providing improvement in cognitive and overall function. EnVivo’s lead product is an alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist that has successfully completed Phase 2b clinical trials in both schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. EnVivo’s other development programs include an epigenetics program based on Histone Deacetylase inhibition (HDACi), a Gamma Secretase Modulator program and a potent and selective PDE10 inhibitor program. For more information about EnVivo, visit www.envivopharma.com.
Susan Heins, 864-286-9597