Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on developing new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that AMX0035 has demonstrated significant treatment advantage for people with of ALS in the CENTAUR study. In the study, participants taking AMX0035 had a statistically significant slowdown in the progression of ALS disease, as measured by the revised ALS functional rating scale (ALSFRS-R) compared to placebo.
AMX0035 is an orally available candidate therapy designed to minimize the mechanisms associated with nerve cell death. It is made up of two small molecules - tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and sodium phenylbutyrate (PB) - which target signals in the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum of a cell, two compartments strongly involved in cellular stress and death of nerve cells.
TUDCA and PB have been shown to prevent cell death and damage neuroinflammation in preclinical models of ALS.
According to Justin Klee, co-founder and president of Amylyx, the therapeutic strategy followed is somewhat unique in that it does not try to prevent the root cause of ALS, the process of which, in most cases, has occurred since long before a person is diagnosed; rather, it aims to preserve motor neurons.
"What ultimately causes the clinical decline of ALS is that the motor neurons in the brain and spine degenerate and die," said Klee. "What we designed was that if we could identify or develop a therapy that could intervene in cell death and degeneration, then maybe we could have a therapy that would work for ALS, as well as neurodegeneration as a whole. "
CENTAUR participants had the opportunity, after the trial, to enroll in an open-label extension study to receive treatment with AMX0035. Almost 90 percent of participants who have completed CENTAUR have chosen to enroll in the extension study. Intermediate data from the ongoing extension study will be presented in 2020.
Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD, Harvard professor leading the trial, explained that CENTAUR was designed to maximize the data that could be obtained using the least number of participants and in the least possible time. This involved the use of stringent enrollment criteria - essentially, only those individuals who were expected to have the most severe ALS with the fastest disease progression, were enrolled. "In other words, when we test the drug in the most severe patients - those who need it most - if we can stop or slow the disease in these patients, we expect to do the same in all patients . "
Paganoni added that if AMX0035 reaches the point of being approved by regulatory authorities for the treatment of ALS, it should be approved for all patients with ALS.
In addition, the company will provide an update on regulatory plans and more details on expanded access plans in early 2020.
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., Professor Kennedy of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Chairman of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund research leadership group and Chairman of Amylyx SAB, shared: "The positive results of the CENTAUR study ALS demonstrate that the mechanism of AMX0035 could represent a new therapeutic approach not only for ALS, but for Alzheimer's disease. I am very excited about the proven benefits of AMX0035 in people with ALS and look forward to the results of the ongoing PEGASUS trial for people with Alzheimer's disease. "
This book retraces the main achievements of ALS research over the last 30 years, presents the drugs under clinical trial, as well as ongoing research on future treatments likely to be able stop the disease in a few years and to provide a complete cure in a decade or two.