We have suspended further development of our RNAi product candidates targeting filoviruses Ebola and Marburg. In December 2014, the U.S. Congress amended the FDA Priority Review Voucher (PRV) Program Act to add filoviruses as a candidate for a PRV. We are exploring partnering or external funding opportunities to maximize the value of these assets.
TKM-Ebola-Kikwit has been developed under a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded in July 2010. Given the unclear development path for TKM-Ebola, development activities have been suspended and the contract with the DoD has been terminated. TKM-Ebola-Kikwit completed the single ascending dose portion of the Phase I clinical trial in healthy human volunteers. Results demonstrated that administration of the TKM-Ebola-Kikwit therapeutic, in the absence of any steroid containing pre-medication, was well-tolerated at a dose level of 0.3 mg/kg, determined to be the maximum tolerated dose. Under the FDA’s expanded access program, several patients with a confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infection were treated with TKM-Ebola-Kikwit during the ebola outbreak in 2014. In March 2015, a TKM-Ebola-Guinea Phase II single arm trial called Rapid Assessment of Potential Interventions & Drugs for Ebola (RAPIDE) was initiated in Sierra Leone, led by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) at the University of Oxford, UK, with funding from the Wellcome Trust. In June 2015 we announced closing of the enrollment for the trial as it reached a futility boundary, which was a predefined statistical endpoint. The results of the study have been submitted for publication and the manuscript is under review.
We have several publications related to our Ebola and Marburg RNAi therapeutic candidates. In April 2015, we, along with our collaborators at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, USA, published positive Ebola treatment data in the journal Nature (Thi EP., et al.; Nature, April 2015). Data demonstrated 100% survival of nonhuman primates previously infected with the West African Makona strain of Ebola virus even when treatment did not begin until three days after viral exposure a time point at which animals were five to six days away from death. These efficacy results are comparable to those obtained with TKM-Ebola-Kikwit, which also demonstrated up to 100% protection from an otherwise lethal dose of the virus. We have published data demonstrating complete protection of non-human primates against lethal Marburg-Angola strain, (Thi EP., et al.; Science Translational Medicine, Aug 2014). Selected data from these programs was presented at the Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference in May 2015.
TKM-ALDH is designed to knockdown or silence aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) to induce long term acute sensitivity to ethanol, for use in severe alcohol use disorder. Aldehyde dehydrogenase is a key enzyme in ethanol metabolism. Inhibition of ALDH activity, through the silencing of ALDH, results in the build-up of acetaldehyde leading to adverse physiological effects. Human proof of concept for ALDH inhibition already exists in the form of the approved drug disulfiram. However, disulfiram’s efficacy is compromised by poor compliance because it has to be taken daily. We believe TKM-ALDH will induce prolonged ethanol sensitivity that will enable it to overcome the compliance limitations associated with daily dosing. We are exploring partnering or external funding opportunities to maximize the value of this asset.
TKM-HTG is a multi-component RNAi therapeutic that simultaneously targets a combination of genes expressed in the liver, which are known to play a significant role in triglyceride metabolism. High triglyceride levels are medically linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and pancreatitis. Approximately one million adults in the US and 18 million worldwide suffer from severe HTG. (NHANES 2003-2004 data). Another patient group affected by HTG are those with Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome (FCS), which is a very rare hereditary condition affecting an estimated 1:1,000,000 people (www.fcs.raredr.com). Additionally, 35% of patients with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) suffer from mixed hyperlipidemia which is a combination of elevated cholesterol and high triglycerides. With underlying T2D, these patients are at considerable risk from cardiovascular disease. We are exploring partnering or external funding opportunities to maximize the value of this asset.