AstraZeneca announced the start of the Phase III program for tralokinumab, a potential treatment for patients with severe, inadequately controlled asthma, developed by MedImmune, the company’s global biologics research and development arm.
The Phase III program will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of tralokinumab in reducing the rate of asthma exacerbations (AER) in adults and adolescents with severe, inadequately controlled asthma despite receiving inhaled corticosteroids plus long-acting β2-agonist. The program will also assess the effect of tralokinumab on lung function, patient-reported asthma symptoms and quality of life, as well as investigate whether potential clinical biomarkers could identify patients who are more likely to respond to tralokinumab.
Tralokinumab is an investigational human monoclonal antibody which potently and selectively neutralises interleukin-13 (IL-13). IL-13 is a key cytokine that is believed to contribute to the onset of severe and frequent asthma attacks, impaired lung function and other debilitating asthma symptoms by driving inflammation, airway hyper-responsiveness and excessive mucus production.
“We are pleased to begin the tralokinumab Phase III program in severe asthma, further strengthening the breadth of our portfolio in respiratory disease, one of AstraZeneca’s core therapy areas,” said Bill Mezzanotte, Vice President and Head of Inflammation, Neuroscience and Respiratory in AstraZeneca’s Global Medicines Development unit. “Patients with severe asthma currently have limited treatment options and need more effective therapies to control their disease. The development of tralokinumab underscores our commitment to a personalised treatment approach for these patients, to improve their lives. Severe asthma is highly heterogeneous; we are working to better understand patient subtypes, identify potential biomarkers, and tailor therapies to cellular and molecular phenotypes to achieve the best clinical outcomes.”
Initiation of the Phase III program is based on results from a Phase IIb study conducted by MedImmune. Results from that study were presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference in San Diego, California in May.
The efficacy and safety of tralokinumab is also being investigated in an ongoing Phase II study in patients with mild-to-moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) over a 72-week treatment period.