Objectives Osteopontin is an extracellular matrix protein with diverse immunomodulatory functions. The authors assessed the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and initial efficacy of the humanised monoclonal antibody ASK8007, which blocks osteopontin.
Methods In this double-blind, multicentre, combined first-in-man, single-dose escalation (phase I, part A) and proof-of-concept, multiple-dose (phase IIA, part B) study, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with active disease were randomly assigned to receive ASK8007 or placebo intravenously. Safety monitoring, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses and clinical assessments were performed throughout the study. The expression of phenotypic cell markers was evaluated in synovial tissue biopsy samples obtained at baseline and 43 days after initiation of treatment (part B) by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis. Two co-primary efficacy endpoints were the change from baseline in the disease activity score evaluated in 28 joints (DAS28) and the change from baseline in the number of CD68 synovial sublining macrophages, both assessed on day 43 (part B).
Results ASK8007 was overall safe and well tolerated up to the highest studied dose (20 mg/kg). Quantifiable concentrations of ASK8007 were detected in synovial fluid. No differences were observed for changes from baseline in DAS28 and CD68 sublining macrophages between ASK8007 and placebo-treated patients. Within the ASK8007 treatment group, there were also no apparent clinical responses or changes in sublining macrophages. In addition, ASK8007 treatment did not change other assessed biomarkers.
Conclusions Osteopontin blockade is well tolerated and not related to safety concerns. These results consistently show that osteopontin blockade is unlikely to induce robust clinical improvement in RA patients.
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Funding This study was sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe BV (Leiderdorp, The Netherlands)/Astellas Pharma (Tokyo, Japan) and the drug substance was manufactured by Kaketsuken (The Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Research Institute, Kumamoto, Japan).
Competing interests PP Tak has served as a consultant for Astellas. JGA Houbiers, H Ishikura, M den Adel, H Jacobs, GM Holtkamp and A Hastings are employees of Astellas. The other authors have no competing interests to declare.
Ethics approval The study was approved by the medical ethical committee of the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.