BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ArQule, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARQL) today announced that the first patient has been dosed in a company sponsored phase 1/2 trial with its AKT inhibitor, ARQ 092, in patients with Overgrowth Diseases driven by genetic alterations of the PI3K/AKT1 pathway. ARQ 092 is an orally available, selective pan-AKT inhibitor.
The phase 1/2 trial will be open to patients ages six and older and be conducted at sites in the U.S. and E.U. The trial will recruit patients with Overgrowth Diseases such as PROS (PIK3CA-Related Overgrowth Spectrum), which includes orphan diseases such as CLOVES (Congenital Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular malformations, Epidermal nevi, Spinal/skeletal anomalies and/or scoliosis) and Fibroadipose hyperplasia, as well as Proteus syndrome.
ArQule plans to enroll six patients in a dose escalation cohort as part of the phase 1 portion of the trial. An additional 10 patients will be enrolled in an expansion cohort as part of the phase 2 portion of the trial. The objective of this study is to determine a clinically meaningful endpoint to pursue in a registrational trial. ArQule has been granted Orphan Disease Designation in the U.S. and has applied for a Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher in Proteus syndrome.
In parallel with the company sponsored phase 1/2 trial, ArQule will continue to provide ARQ 092 on a named patient basis to those patients unable to travel to a clinical trial site due to severe disease, as well as support the phase 1 study in Proteus syndrome being conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“There are a spectrum of Overgrowth Diseases that are rare, are known to be driven by PI3K or AKT1 mutations, and have no approved therapeutic options,” said Dr. Brian Schwartz, M.D., Head of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at ArQule. “These diseases begin showing symptoms in infancy and generally result in patients undergoing multiple surgeries in their childhood and sometimes into adulthood. With this trial, we are increasing our efforts to determine an appropriate dose as well as a clinical endpoint for a registrational clinical trial with the hope of providing a therapeutic option for these patients.”
About the AKT Pathway and ARQ 092
ARQ 092 is an orally bioavailable, selective small molecule inhibitor of the AKT kinase. The AKT pathway when abnormally activated is implicated in multiple oncogenic processes such as cell proliferation and apoptosis. This pathway has emerged as a target of potential therapeutic relevance for compounds that inhibit its activity, which has been linked to a variety of cancers as well as to select non-oncology indications.
Dysregulation of AKT is also a driver of certain rare proliferative disorders. For example, the E17K mutation of AKT1 causes Proteus syndrome, a rare non-cancerous segmental overgrowth disorder, and the analogous PIK3CA-Related Overgrowth Spectrum (PROS) is caused by genetic alterations in the PI3K pathway. ARQ 092 has been shown preclinically and clinically to inhibit AKT and PI3K cell signaling and therefore may provide the potential for much-needed treatment options for patients with these diseases.
ARQ 092, the lead compound in ArQule’s AKT program, has completed phase 1a clinical testing and has advanced into phase 1b expansion testing in cohorts of patients with endometrial cancer, lymphomas and tumors harboring either AKT or PI3K mutations. A company sponsored phase 1/2 trial is being conducted in the U.S. and E.U. for Overgrowth Diseases, including PROS and Proteus syndrome. ARQ 092 is also in a phase 1 trial being conducted by the NIH for Proteus syndrome. Collaborators are exploring in preclinical testing other indications for ARQ 092, including sickle cell disease.
About Overgrowth Disease
Overgrowth Disease is a term used to refer to a spectrum of rare diseases identified by somatic mutations, often of the PI3K or AKT1 pathway, that result in excess growth in certain areas of the body. While the individual diseases that fall within the overgrowth spectrum have similar symptoms, each disease is defined by unique characteristics. Diseases that are part of the overgrowth spectrum include PROS diseases (PIK3CA Rare Overgrowth Spectrum) and Proteus syndrome. Each disease on its own is rare, sometimes ultra-rare, often only impacting an estimated one in a million people worldwide.
As an example, CLOVES (Congenital Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular malformations, Epidermal nevi, Spinal/skeletal anomalies and/or scoliosis) is a disease that is part of the PROS family of diseases. According to the CLOVES Foundation (www.clovesfoundation.org), CLOVES is an extremely rare progressive overgrowth disorder, affecting approximately 200 people worldwide. The symptoms vary from mild soft tissue tumors to Vascular Malformations encompassing the spine or internal organs. CLOVES is closely linked to other overgrowth disorders like M-CM (Macrocephaly-Capillary Malformation) Syndrome, Klippel-Trénaunay-Weber syndrome, and Proteus syndrome.
About Proteus Syndrome
According to the patient advocacy and support group, the Proteus syndrome Foundation (http://www.proteus-syndrome.org/), the condition was named for Proteus, the Greek god who could transform his shape. Patients experience changes in the shapes of certain body structures over time, including abnormal, often asymmetric, massive growth (overgrowth) of the skeleton, skin, adipose tissue and central nervous system out of proportion to the rest of the body, which may appear normal. Although patients may have minimal or no manifestations at birth, the disease develops and becomes apparent in early childhood (6-18 months) and rapidly progresses with intense growth in the first ten years of life. It is primarily a childhood-onset disease.
Proteus syndrome is a rare condition with an incidence of less than one in one million people worldwide. Only a few hundred individuals have been reported in the medical literature. At this time, there are more than 120 documented cases worldwide, but because not all cases are documented, it is not known how many people have this disease. The incidence of Proteus syndrome classifies it as a rare disorder, defined by the National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD) as any disease affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans.
ArQule is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the research and development of targeted therapeutics to treat cancers and rare diseases. ArQule’s mission is to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule drugs in areas of high unmet need that will dramatically extend and improve the lives of our patients. Our clinical-stage pipeline consists of five drug candidates, all of which are in targeted, biomarker-defined patient populations, making ArQule a leader among companies our size in precision medicine. ArQule’s proprietary pipeline includes: ARQ 087, a multi-kinase inhibitor designed to preferentially inhibit the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family, in phase 2 for iCCA and in phase 1b for multiple oncology indications; ARQ 092, a selective inhibitor of the AKT serine/threonine kinase, in a phase 1/2 company sponsored study for Overgrowth Diseases, in a phase 1 study for ultra-rare Proteus syndrome conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as in multiple oncology indications; ARQ 751, a next generation AKT inhibitor, in phase 1 for patients with AKT1 and PI3K mutations; and ARQ 761, a β-lapachone analog being evaluated as a promoter of NQO1-mediated programmed cancer cell necrosis, in phase 1/2 in multiple oncology indications in partnership with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In addition, we have advanced ARQ 531, an investigational, orally bioavailable, potent and reversible inhibitor of both wild type and C481S-mutant BTK, through toxicology testing and plan to initiate a phase 1 trial by the third quarter of 2017. ArQule’s current discovery efforts are focused on the identification and development of novel kinase inhibitors, leveraging the Company’s proprietary library of compounds. You can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the Company’s clinical trials with ARQ 092. These statements are based on the Company’s current beliefs and expectations, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Positive information about pre-clinical, and early stage clinical trial results, including in Overgrowth Diseases, Proteus syndrome and sickle cell disease, does not ensure that later stage or larger scale clinical trials will be successful. For example, ARQ 092 may not demonstrate promising therapeutic effect; in addition, it may not demonstrate an appropriate safety profile in current or later stage or larger scale clinical trials as a result of known or as yet unanticipated side effects. The results achieved in later stage trials may not be sufficient to meet applicable regulatory standards or to justify further development. Problems or delays may arise during clinical trials or in the course of developing, testing or manufacturing the compound that could lead the Company or its partners, including the National Institutes of Health, to discontinue development. Even if later stage clinical trials are successful, unexpected concerns may arise from subsequent analysis of data or from additional data. Obstacles may arise or issues may be identified in connection with review of clinical data with regulatory authorities. Regulatory authorities may disagree with the Company’s view of the data or require additional data or information or additional studies. Drug development involves a high degree of risk. Only a small number of research and development programs result in the commercialization of a product. Furthermore, ArQule may not have the financial or human resources to successfully pursue drug discovery in the future. For more detailed information on the risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s drug development and other activities, see the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements.