Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today announced promising results from an ongoing Phase 2 study evaluating combinations of VX-770 and VX-809, potential medicines designed to treat the defective protein that causes cystic fibrosis.
The study enrolled 62 people with two copies of the most common CF mutation, known as Delta F508. The trial lasted three weeks. Participants took VX-809 for two weeks, and VX-809 and VX-770 together for a third week.
Patients who took the drug regimen showed a positive change in sweat chloride levels. Excessive sweat chloride is a key clinical indicator of cystic fibrosis. The findings suggest that VX-809 and VX-770 together improve function of the defective CF protein, known as CFTR.
“The results of this study represent a milestone in our efforts to expand the use of small molecules to attack the root cause of cystic fibrosis in those with the most common defect,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the CF Foundation. “These data, while early, provide important new information that validates our approach and supports continued study of a combination-therapy approach to treating the basic defect of cystic fibrosis.”
The CF Foundation worked with Vertex to discover VX-770 and VX-809, and has provided substantial scientific, financial and clinical support throughout the development process, including an approximately $75 million investment.
These positive results support further testing of VX-770 and VX-809 as a combination therapy. Vertex plans to initiate the second part of this Phase 2 study in the fourth quarter of 2011.
In people with the Delta F508 mutation, the defective protein does not move to its proper place at the cell surface. VX-809 is designed to help the protein reach the cell surface, while VX-770 aims to help the protein function more normally once it is at the cell surface.
The defective protein creates a cascade of symptoms, including a buildup of mucus in the airways and other complications that lead to lung damage and ultimately premature death.
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Source: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation