Researchers have gained new insights into how Abivax’s investigational product ABX464 works. The therapy is currently under investigation in Phase 2 trials in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Findings of the study “The Anti-HIV Candidate ABX464 Dampens Intestinal Inflammation by Triggering Il-22 Production in Activated Macrophages” were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“We are pleased to see the publication of our data which give us valuable insight into ABX464’s activity in HIV and also supports its potential role as a novel and differentiated treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and especially ulcerative colitis,” Hartmut J. Ehrlich, MD, Abivax’s CEO and the study’s author, said in a news release.
“Based on these encouraging results, Abivax is initiating a Phase 2a proof of concept clinical study in patients with ulcerative colitis during the second half of 2017,” he said.
Using mice with induced colitis (gut inflammation), researchers observed that treatment with ABX464 strongly improved inflammation and provided long-term protection to the gut after the end of the treatment.
They also found that ABX464 reduced the production of inflammatory proteins, such as IL-6 and TNFα, both in mice and in cell cultures. At the same time, it induced the production of another protein, called IL-22, which promotes tissue repair.
“The results presented in this paper show for the first time that ABX464 specifically acts on the immune system to attenuate mucosal disease …,” said Jamal Tazi, PhD, the study’s principal researcher.
“ABX464’s ability to dampen intestinal inflammation in [colitis]-mice was clearly demonstrated,” he added. “Additionally, its ability to reduce the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNFα and induce the expression of IL-22 leading to tissue repair, and show long-lasting protective effects, is very promising.”
“These results are encouraging and potentially meaningful for patients with IBD, a debilitating and potentially life-threatening disease,” said Ian McGowan, who works as a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“Given the limitations with many existing treatment options for IBD, an orally-available treatment, such as ABX464, that has the ability to reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair would represent a significant step forward in the treatment of these patients,” McGowan said.