Investigational Asthma Treatment Cuts Exacerbation Rates in Half

March 2, 2015
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor

A pair of phase 3 studies recently demonstrated that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' investigational treatment for moderate-to-severe asthma in patients with elevated blood eosinophils reduces asthma exacerbation rates by at least half.

A pair of phase 3 studies recently demonstrated that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ investigational treatment for moderate-to-severe asthma in patients with elevated blood eosinophils reduces asthma exacerbation rates by at least half.

The study compared the anti-interleukin-5 (IL-5) monoclonal antibody, reslizumab, with placebo in 953 patients with both asthma and elevated blood eosinophil levels. The research team found that patients treated with reslizumab in the first study achieved a 50% reduction in annual clinical asthma exacerbations compared with placebo, while those in the second study achieved a 59% reduction versus placebo.

In addition, reslizumab-treated patients in both studies experienced improved lung function by week 4, a benefit that was maintained for at least 1 year.

“Results from these phase 3 studies highlight the importance of phenotype-targeted therapies and represent a potential change in the treatment paradigm for patients with moderate-to-severe asthma and elevated blood eosinophil levels who are uncontrolled on an [inhaled corticosteroid]-based therapy,” said lead investigator Mario Castro, MD, in a press release. “If approved, reslizumab could provide doctors with a new treatment option that has the potential to both significantly reduce patients' asthma exacerbations and improve their current symptom control and lung function.”

“There is a tremendous need within the asthma patient population for targeted treatment options that may limit the number of annual exacerbations and aid patients in effectively controlling their condition,” added Michael Hayden, MD, Teva’s President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer. “If approved, we look forward to bringing this important new therapy to market as soon as possible.”

The most common adverse events experienced by reslizumab-treated trial participants included worsening of asthma, nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, influenza, and headache, but they were comparable to those reported by patients in the placebo group. There were 2 incidents of anaphylactic reactions, both of which were resolved following medical treatment at the study site.