The Lancet Neurology publishes positive results of AFFiRiS’ Phase 1 trial with PD01A in Parkinson’s disease patients

  • Repeated immunisation with PD01A is safe and well-tolerated over
    an extended time period
  • Active immunisation with PD01A resulted in a substantial aSyn-specific
    antibody response and memory effect
  • This antibody response was associated with a substantial reduction
    in CSF oligomeric aSyn protein
  • Results represent long-term data from a first-in-human study
    series using specific active immunotherapy (SAIT) AFFITOPE® PD01A


VIENNA, AUSTRIA – EQS Newswire – June 22, 2020 – AFFiRiS AG, a clinical-stage biotechnology company
developing novel disease-modifying specific active immunotherapies (SAITs),
today announced that detailed results of the phase 1 clinical program with its lead
candidate PD01 in early Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients were published in the
peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Neurology ( The results of the long-term phase 1 trial series
demonstrated that repeated immunisation with PD01A is safe and well-tolerated over
an extended period of time. The data showed that active immunisation with PD01A
leads to a positive antibody response specific for alpha-synuclein
(aSyn), a protein that is believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s
disease. Active immunisation also resulted in a substantial reduction (mean of
51%) in the levels of aSyn oligomers in the CSF of patients who received the
high dose therapy, which is interpreted as a sign of in vivo target


evidences support the role of soluble aSyn oligomers as a causative factor in
the development of Parkinson’s disease and reducing the levels of aSyn
oligomers could potentially have disease-modifying benefit in PD patients.


In the trial,
the patients were randomised to receive four immunisations with two different doses
of AFFiRiS’ drug candidate and were followed for at least 3.5 years to assess
the safety of the PD01A immunotherapeutic. In particular, this was the first
study to assess the feasibility and safety of a specific active immunotherapy
against aSyn.


The results
of this phase 1 study demonstrated that immunisation with PD01A is safe when
repeatedly administered and was well-tolerated over an extended time period. With
the exception of expected local injection site reactions, most AEs were
considered unrelated to study treatment. No patient discontinued due to
treatment emergent adverse events. Immunisation resulted in a significant
increase in IgG antibody against the immunizing AFFITOPE® PD01 peptide already
after three priming injections with a maximum titre being achieved at Week 12. This
led to a specific humoral immune response against the aSyn target epitope.
Moreover, the priming immunisations resulted in a substantial memory effect for
the aSyn target epitope as evidenced by the reactivation and augmentation of
the antibody response following booster immunizations. This resulted in the
persistence of the immune response until study end.


Although the study was not designed and not powered to evaluate clinical
efficacy, clinical
signals of efficacy were observed. In particular, MDS-UPDRS motor scores were
generally stable across the study series, in contrast to published data which
reports a worsening in MDS-UPDRS scores in a similar patient population.


“The PD01A safety profile and the substantial
sustained aSyn antibody response targeting both the toxic oligomeric and
fibrillar form of aSyn, which are believed to contribute to the pathology of PD,
may offer a promising
strategy for long-term management of PD, addressing an urgent medical need,”
said Dieter Volc MD, principal
investigator of the study series and Head of the
Parkinson Center at the Privatklinik
Confraternitaet, Vienna.


“The encouraging results, including signals for
clinical efficacy, warrant the further development of our drug for the
treatment of PD in a phase 2 clinical trial,” commented Noel
Barrett, Ph.D., AFFiRiS’s Chief Executive Officer
. “Potentially, specific active immunization
approaches such as with PD01A might overcome the limitations of passive antibody
infusion approaches for PD, caused by their short in vivo half-lives, and circumvent frequent and high treatment
costs by stimulating a self-produced, long-lasting immune reaction.”


The data
published in Lancet Neurology is the first report of an active anti-aSyn
immunotherapy associated with reduction of CSF aSyn oligomers in PD patients
and points to the possible development of this protein as a potential biomarker
for disease progression.


The phase 1
trial was
supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. A phase 2 trial in early-stage Parkinson’s
disease patients is in preparation and expected to start in the second half of
2020, depending on the emerging COVID-19 situation.


the Phase 1 clinical trial study:

The study was a
patient-blinded, single-centre, randomised, first-in-human study followed by
three consecutive extensions. 24 Parkinson’s disease patients were randomised
to receive four immunisations with either 15μg or 75μg PD01A and were followed
for at least 3.5 years. For the first booster injection, patients were
re-randomised to receive PD01A doses of 15μg or 75μg. All patients received a
second booster injection of 75μg. The primary objective was to assess the
safety of the PD01A immunotherapeutic. These studies were registered at EudraCT
(2011-002650-31, 2013-001774-20, 2014-002489-54 and 2015-004854-16). 



novel immunotherapy candidate for the treatment of early-stage Parkinson’s
disease patients. PD01 is a synthetically produced alpha-synuclein
(aSyn)-mimicking peptide-based specific active immunotherapy (SAIT), identified
by the AFFiRiS’ AFFITOME® technology, that targets the protein aSyn. This
protein has been identified as playing a key role in the onset and progression
of Parkinson’s disease.


About Parkinson’s

Parkinson´s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative
disorder after Alzheimer’s disease and the most common neurodegenerative
movement disease.  It
affects approximately 1% of the population above the age of 60, about 7-10
million people worldwide. PD is a chronic progressive disorder, defined by
a combination of motoric and non-motoric syndromes. The hallmark of the disease
is a substantial loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain accompanied by
accumulations of filamentous protein inclusions predominantly composed of alpha
Synuclein (aSyn). Evidence suggests that the misfolding of the aSyn protein
causes inflammation, synaptic dysfunction and finally neuronal cell death.
Current therapies target symptoms but fail to modify the underlying neurodegeneration.
In addition, these therapies result in varying degrees of side effects, and
their beneficial effects diminish over time.

About AFFiRiS AG:

AFFiRiS is a
clinical-stage biotechnology company located in Vienna, Austria, with a vision of using the immune system to identify and target human
proteins central to the development and progression of neurodegenerative
diseases, based on its proprietary patented AFFITOME® technology. The Company’s
ultimate goal is to improve the lives of patients suffering from these diseases
by providing disease-modifying specific active immunotherapies (SAIT). With its
lead candidate AFFITOPE® PD01, AFFiRiS is the leader in active immunotherapies
for Parkinson’s disease. AFFiRiS’ programs against multiple system atrophy,
dementia with Lewy bodies, and chorea Huntington are in pre-clinical


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About SAIT:

About neurodegenerative diseases: