Randomised clinical study: GR-MD-02, a galectin-3 inhibitor, vs. placebo in patients having non-alcoholic steatohepatitis with advanced fibrosis

2016 Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 44;11-12 (1183-1198)

BACKGROUND: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and resultant liver fibrosis is a major health problem without approved pharmacotherapy. Pre-clinical results of GR-MD-02, a galectin-3 inhibitor, suggested potential efficacy in NASH with advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis and prompted initiation of a clinical development programme in NASH with advanced fibrosis. AIM: To evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics and exploratory pharmacodynamic markers of GR-MD-02 in subjects having NASH with bridging fibrosis. METHODS: The GT-020 study was a first-in-human, sequential dose-ranging, placebo controlled, double-blinded study with the primary objective to assess the safety, tolerability and dose limiting toxicity of GR-MD-02, in subjects with biopsy-proven NASH with advanced fibrosis (Brunt stage 3). The secondary objectives were to characterise first-dose and multiple-dose pharmacokinetic profiles and to evaluate changes in potential serum biomarkers and liver stiffness as assessed by FibroScan. RESULTS: GR-MD-02 single and three weekly repeated of 2, 4 and 8 mg/kg revealed no meaningful clinical differences in treatment emergent adverse events, vital signs, electrocardiographic findings or laboratory tests. Pharmokinetic parameters showed a dose-dependent relationship with evidence of drug accumulation following 8 mg/kg (~twofold). CONCLUSIONS: GR-MD-02 doses were in the upper range of the targeted therapeutic dose determined from pre-clinical data and were safe and well tolerated with evidence of a pharmacodynamic effect. These results provide support for a Phase 2 development programme in advanced fibrosis due to NASH.

Pubmed : 27778367