Knopp Biosciences Announces Positive Top-Line Results from the Phase 2 EXHALE Trial of Oral Dexpramipexole in Moderate-to-Severe Eosinophilic Asthma
Primary endpoint was achieved, with dexpramipexole demonstrating a statistically significant reduction in blood eosinophil count over 12 weeks
Reduction in blood eosinophil count correlated with clinically important improvement in lung function
PITTSBURGH, PA, JANUARY 14, 2021—Knopp Biosciences LLC today announced positive top-line results in a Phase 2 dose-ranging trial of the novel oral drug dexpramipexole in patients with moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma.
The EXHALE study met its primary endpoint, with dexpramipexole demonstrating a statistically significant, dose-dependent reduction in blood absolute eosinophil count (AEC) from Baseline to Week 12 compared to placebo when added to standard of care. The magnitude of change in blood AEC was consistent with the eosinophil depletion seen in previous clinical trials of dexpramipexole in other indications.
In the EXHALE trial, eosinophil depletion in blood by oral dexpramipexole correlated with clinically important improvement in lung function as measured by pre-bronchodilator FEV1.
Dexpramipexole was well tolerated by patients at all doses tested. Preliminary analyses showed no clinically meaningful differences in safety results between the dexpramipexole and placebo groups, with no serious adverse events and 96% of subjects completing the primary assessment phase. Background standard of care was inhaled corticosteroids in combination with a long-acting β2 agonist.
“These Phase 2 results strongly support the continued development of dexpramipexole as a potential first-in-class oral agent for the treatment of eosinophilic asthma,” said Michael Bozik, M.D., President and CEO of Knopp. “We expect future studies to determine the drug’s effects on severe asthma exacerbations, and to further assess its effects on lung function.”
EXHALE was a randomized, double-blind, Phase 2 trial assessing the efficacy and safety of three dose levels of oral dexpramipexole vs. placebo in reducing blood eosinophil counts over 12 weeks in 103 adult subjects with moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma. The trial was conducted at 28 U.S. study centers. Knopp expects to present results of the trial at a forthcoming medical meeting.
Clinical trials for approved eosinophil-depleting drugs have shown that drugs that reduce eosinophil counts provide significant benefit for reduction in asthma exacerbations in patients with moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma . Treatments approved to date for eosinophilic asthma are monoclonal antibodies requiring injection or infusion, while dexpramipexole is administered orally.
ABOUT KNOPP BIOSCIENCES LLC
Knopp Biosciences is a privately held drug discovery and development company focused on delivering breakthrough treatments for immunological and neurological diseases with high unmet need. Knopp’s clinical-stage oral small molecule, dexpramipexole, is in development for moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma. Knopp’s preclinical Kv7 platform is directed to small-molecule treatments for developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, other epilepsies, neuropathic pain, and smooth-muscle disorders. Please visit www.knoppbio.com.
ABOUT ORAL DEXPRAMIPEXOLE
Dexpramipexole, a selective inhibitor of eosinophil maturation, is an oral small molecule in development by Knopp for asthma and other eosinophil-associated diseases. In hypereosinophilic syndrome, dexpramipexole has previously been shown in a Phase 2 trial to significantly reduce requirements for oral corticosteroids and in a subset of patients to produce durable disease remission . Dexpramipexole has been well tolerated in clinical trials comprising approximately 1,200 patients.
ABOUT THE EXHALE STUDY
EXHALE was a randomized, double-blind, Phase 2 trial assessing the efficacy and safety of 75 mg/day, 150 mg/day, and 300 mg/day of oral dexpramipexole vs. placebo in reducing blood eosinophil counts over 12 weeks in 103 adult subjects with moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma. The study was conducted at 28 U.S. study centers.
 Nair P and O’Byrne P. Measuring Eosinophils to Make Treatment Decisions in Asthma. Chest. 2016 Sep;150(3):485-7.
 Panch R, Bozik M et al. Dexpramipexole as an oral steroid-sparing agent in hypereosinophilic syndromes. Blood. 2018 Aug 2;132(5):501-509.
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