Povetacicept is a dual B cell cytokine antagonist being developed for multiple autoimmune and/or inflammatory diseases. Based upon an engineered TACI (transmembrane activator and CAML interactor) domain, povetacicept in preclinical studies shows robust inhibition of B cell activating factor/B lymphocyte stimulator (BAFF, BLyS) and a proliferation inducing ligand (APRIL). These two pleiotropic B cell cytokines play key roles in B cell development, differentiation, and survival, and together contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and many other autoantibody-related inflammatory diseases. By simultaneously blocking these two cytokines, povetacicept has the potential to improve outcomes in patients suffering from severe autoimmune and/or inflammatory diseases.
Data from RUBY-1, a phase 1 study of povetacicept in healthy volunteers, and a summary of our nonclinical studies, were presented at our inaugural R&D Day in September 2022, demonstrating that:
- Povetacicept has significantly improved potency against BAFF, and particularly APRIL, and demonstrates superiority against BAFF- or APRIL-only inhibitors, as well as wild-type TACI, in preclinical disease models.
- Povetacicept was well tolerated in healthy adults when administered intravenously or subcutaneously (SQ) at doses up to 960 mg.
- Encouraging preliminary pharmacodynamic analyses, including reductions in circulating immunoglobulins and antibody-secreting cells (CD38hi plasmablasts/plasma cells) – the latter not previously reported with inhibitors of BAFF and/or APRIL in healthy adults, to the best of the Company’s knowledge.
- Pharmacodynamic analyses further support the feasibility of convenient subcutaneous therapeutic dosing every four weeks, suggesting potential for more robust activity and greater convenience over related inhibitors of BAFF and/or APRIL.
- Doses selected for patient-based studies include 80 mg and 240 mg SQ every four weeks.
We believe the encouraging data from the RUBY-1 study support a broad development plan including:
- A randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 proof-of-concept study in SLE; and
- Open-label basket studies in renal, hematologic, and dermatologic autoimmune diseases with initial data anticipated in the second half of 2023.
For more information on our ongoing clinical trials please refer to the clinical trials portion of our website.