Paris and Tarrytown, New York – March 23, 2016 – Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced positive results from the Phase 3 ODYSSEY ESCAPE trial evaluating Praluent® (alirocumab) Injection in patients with an inherited form of high cholesterol known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), whose cholesterol levels required chronic, weekly or bi-weekly apheresis therapy. The trial met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that patients who added Praluent to their existing treatment regimen significantly reduced the frequency of their apheresis therapy by 75 percent, compared to placebo (p<0.0001). Sixty-three percent of patients treated with Praluent no longer required apheresis, compared to zero percent of placebo patients. Apheresis is a procedure where bad (LDL) cholesterol is removed from the blood, in a process similar to kidney dialysis.
“This is the first time a PCSK9 inhibitor has shown in a clinical study that it reduced the frequency of apheresis therapy, an invasive, difficult to access, time-consuming and expensive treatment for some of the most difficult-to-treat patients,” said Bill Sasiela, Ph.D, VP, Program Direction, Regeneron. “The ODYSSEY clinical trial program was designed to understand the effect of Praluent on many different patient populations with a high degree of unmet need who required further reduction of their LDL cholesterol.”
Apheresis therapy is invasive and burdensome to patients, given that it can take more than three hours. Treatment may also be inconvenient and cost up to $100,000 for each patient per year in the U.S. or up to €60,000 in Germany, where there are 200 centers and LDL apheresis is more frequently used. In the U.S. there are only approximately 60 apheresis centers and many patients must travel significant distances for the procedure.
“Despite statins, a subset of patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia are unable to sufficiently reduce their LDL cholesterol, and require regular apheresis treatment,” said Jay Edelberg, MD., Ph.D, Head of Cardiovascular Development, Sanofi. “The results demonstrate that treatment with Praluent may help these patients decrease the frequency or even eliminate the need for apheresis.”
The most common adverse events in the trial were fatigue (15 percent Praluent; 10 percent placebo), nasopharyngitis (10 percent Praluent; 10 percent placebo), diarrhea (10 percent Praluent; 0 percent placebo), myalgia (10 percent Praluent; 5 percent placebo), upper respiratory infection (7 percent Praluent; 19 percent placebo), headache (7 percent Praluent; 5 percent placebo), arthralgia (7 percent Praluent; 10 percent placebo), and back pain (5 percent Praluent; 10 percent placebo).
Detailed data will be presented at future medical congresses.