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Ascendis Pharma presents new data


Ascendis Pharma has announced data supporting its product pipeline presented at ENDO 2017, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Orlando, Florida.

“We are delighted to show the breadth of our growing pipeline at this year’s ENDO conference, including three potentially differentiated treatments for rare endocrine diseases,” said Jonathan Leff, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Ascendis Pharma. “Our pipeline of three unique, wholly-owned product candidates leverages our TransCon technology platform and product development approach, which may lead to higher success rates than traditional drug development.”

TransCon Growth Hormone

TransCon Growth Hormone, with convenient weekly dosing, is designed to release unmodified growth hormone that diffuses freely into the body’s tissues, maximizing its ability to carry out the systemic effects of endogenous and daily growth hormone.  It is currently in Phase 3 development as a potential therapy for children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD).  At ENDO the company exhibited two posters described the clinical development program for TransCon Growth Hormone, including results of the pediatric GHD Phase 2 trial, which provided the foundation for the ongoing Phase 3 program.
For the first time, Ascendis researchers also presented data regarding the company’s proprietary auto-injector device, showing that data collected from >70 patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals found the auto-injector easy-to-use.  With multiple features designed to create a patient-centric experience, the auto-injector will be used in the extension phase of the heiGHt Trial and is planned to be available for launch of TransCon Growth Hormone.

“There is a significant need for a safe and effective long-acting growth hormone therapy that will help improve compliance in pediatric patients with GHD,” said Aristides K. Maniatis, MD, FAAP, pediatric endocrinologist from Rocky Mountain Pediatric Endocrinology and an investigator in the heiGHt Trial.  “The Phase 2 data demonstrated similar efficacy, safety and tolerability of TransCon Growth Hormone compared to daily growth hormone therapy, and I am pleased to be participating in this important Phase 3 study.”

TransCon Growth Hormone is being evaluated in the Phase 3 heiGHt Trial, which compares its safety, efficacy and tolerability to daily growth hormone therapy. Ascendis Pharma expects to complete enrollment of the study in the fourth quarter of 2017.

TransCon PTH

TransCon PTH is a sustained-release prodrug of parathyroid hormone [PTH(1-34)] for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism, a rare and serious endocrine deficiency disorder that can lead to a variety of neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and other symptoms.  It is designed to maintain a steady PTH level within the physiological range over a 24-hour period, helping to address limitations of available therapies.

Two posters at ENDO reviewed the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of TransCon PTH in animal models. Preclinical data in two separate models demonstrated the infusion-like profile of TransCon PTH following once-daily administration.  Studies in healthy monkeys also showed TransCon PTH increased serum calcium while reducing urinary calcium excretion.  In the late-breaking poster, a study in rats who were PTH-deficient following thyroparathyroidectomy showed TransCon PTH normalized serum calcium and phosphorus. This was compared to a higher daily dose of PTH(1-84), a currently available PTH replacement therapy, which did not. Additionally, the data suggested positive effects on bone turnover at evaluated doses.

“We are excited about the potential of TransCon PTH, which may more fully control all aspects of hypoparathyroidism and its underlying disease pathophysiology,” said David B. Karpf, M.D., Ascendis Pharma’s Vice President of Clinical Development and a practicing endocrinologist at Stanford University.  “Clinical trials have demonstrated that an infusion-like profile is superior to once or twice daily injections of PTH(1-34).  TransCon PTH has the potential to become a true PTH replacement therapy as it is designed to maintain physiologic PTH levels around the clock, potentially offering patients a significant treatment advance.”

Ascendis Pharma plans to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of TransCon PTH in the third quarter of 2017.

TransCon CNP

Ascendis scientists presented two posters on TransCon CNP, a sustained-release prodrug of C-Type Natriuretic Peptide, for the treatment of achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. One presentation summarized the pharmacokinetics and lack of adverse hemodynamic effects of TransCon CNP, allowing for the administration of high doses to facilitate optimal efficacy. A late-breaking poster showed a dose-dependent effect on long bone (tibia) growth in juvenile monkeys with weekly TransCon CNP.  Following two-month data previously presented at the company’s recent R&D Update, these results demonstrated growth effects continued through six months. The poster also summarized the effects of TransCon CNP in a mouse model of achondroplasia, including bone growth and the potential to ameliorate some of the more disabling achondroplasia traits, including stenosis of the foramen magnum.

“The encouraging TransCon CNP preclinical data support the hypothesis that a CNP analogue can be an effective treatment for achondroplasia without dose-limiting hypotension,” said Kennett Sprogøe, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Product Innovation at Ascendis Pharma.  “Patients with achondroplasia have no approved drug therapies, and we are pleased to advance a novel product candidate in this area of significant unmet medical need.”

Ascendis Pharma plans to submit an investigational new drug application or equivalent for TransCon CNP in the fourth quarter of 2017.