We are developing a portfolio of programs targeting biological resilience pathways that slow the degenerative processes associated with aging and improve functional outcomes for patients suffering from age-related diseases, including severe respiratory failure in patients suffering from COVID-19.
COVID-19 (COVA CLINICAL PROGRAM)
Approximately 20% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients develop severe illness which may require hospitalization sometimes in intensive care unit. The mortality rate of COVID-19 mainly in elderly patients and/or with underlying comorbidities such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes is estimated to range between 26% and 62%. Severe illness and fatal outcomes of COVID-19 are associated with acute respiratory disease syndrome, myocardial injury, cardiac dysfunction, arrhythmias and renal alterations. Due to its mechanism of entry in human cells, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19 notably induces an imbalance of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) associated with excessive inflammation, apoptosis and coagulopathies.
The outbreak of COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 has rapidly reached pandemic proportions with negative impacts on global health, world economy and society. The number of infected patients worldwide is now over 100 million with around 500.000 new cases every day and a current death toll of 2 million.
Unfortunately, despite intensive research efforts, we are still lacking effective treatment modalities significantly avoiding mortality in patients suffering from severe forms of COVID-19. Aside from new vaccination strategies, therapeutic alternatives to this treat devastating disease are thus urgently required.
We believe that restoration of the balance of the RAS would be a particularly relevant avenue to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Sarconeos (BIO101) activates the MAS receptor, a key component of the protective arm of the RAS, and has been shown to significantly improve respiratory function in several preclinical models. The COVA clinical program evaluates the therapeutic efficacy and the safety of Sarconeos (BIO101) as a treatment to prevent further respiratory deterioration in patients with acute respiratory failure associated with COVID-19.
The COVA study, of patients 45 years and older who are hospitalized for severe respiratory symptoms and with proven COVID-19 infection, is now in Phase 3. This global, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study has a seamless Phase 2-3 design and includes the U.S., Brazil, France and Belgium.
SARCOPENIA (SARA CLINICAL PROGRAM)
Sarcopenia is an age-related degeneration of skeletal muscle characterized by a loss of muscle mass strength, balance and the ability to stand and/or walk. Sarcopenia leadsto mobility disability in the elderly (³65 years), resulting in a loss of independence, increased risk of adverse health events, such as falls, which can shorten life expectancy.
Estimated prevalence is between 6-22% in the elderly (≥ 60 years), a population expected to double from approximately 962 million in 2017 to 2.1 billion by 2050.
Sarcopenia was first defined in 1989 and was classified as a disease in 2016 based on the World Health Organization (WHO) ICD-10-CM code M62.84.
There is currently no approved medication and no widely accepted standard of care for sarcopenia. Current non-medicinal treatment recommendations primarily focus on moderate physical activity and nutritional intervention.
We have tested the safety and efficacy of Sarconeos (BIO101) in a global, randomized, multicenter, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial (SARA-INT) with sarcopenic patients at risk of mobility disability. Top Line Results ( TLRs) released end of July 2021, showed that Sarconeos (BIO101) at the highest dose (350 mg bid) showed a clinically meaningful improvement of 0.10 m/s in the 400-meter walk test (400MWT), the primary endpoint of the study. In addition, Sarconeos (BIO101) showed a very good safety profile at the doses of 175 mg bid and of 350 mg bid with no Serious Adverse Events (AE) related to the product. Biophytis is now committed to progress Sarconeos (BIO101) into phase 3 either alone or through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Sarconeos (BIO101) will be the only drug candidate in Phase 3 currently being tested for sarcopenia.
DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY (MYODA PROGRAM)
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a rare, genetic neuromuscular disease in male children characterized by accelerated degeneration of muscles and is responsible for a loss of mobility, respiratory failure and cardiomyopathy, leading to premature death. It is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in children (first clinical symptoms are usually reported before the age of 5 years), affecting approximately one in 5,000 new born boys (approximately 20,000 new cases annually worldwide).
DMD is caused by a certain number of mutations in the dystrophin gene that results in the absence or very low levels of functional dystrophin, a cytoskeletal protein that protects muscle cells.
The absence of dystrophin in muscle severely weakens the structural and membrane stability of the muscle fibers, resulting in the loss of muscle strength and mobility, impaired respiratory function and cardiac defects. DMD evolves according to a very well understood progression with symptoms that are similar to those associated with accelerated aging across all stages.
The progression of DMD follows a highly predictable course, which is usually described in 5 consecutive stages: pre-symptomatic, early ambulatory, late ambulatory, early non-ambulatory, late non-ambulatory
Currently there is no cure for DMD and only limited treatment options primarily consisting of corticosteroids and two targeted therapies (targeting specific dystrophin mutations either by exon skipping or with stop codons) available on the market (one in the United States and one in Europe). While these treatments aim to address the root cause of DMD, by allowing a partial expression of the dystrophin gene, they do not allow full restoration of muscle cell structure as the resulting gene product is a truncated dystrophin.
In preclinical animal studies, we observed a positive effect on muscle function, mobility, and respiratory function (a major disability in later stage DMD disease progression) in mdx mice models of DMD that were treated with Sarconeos (BIO101).
We received orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Sarconeos (BIO101) in DMD in 2018. The company plans to start a Phase 1-2-3 clinical study (MYODA-INT) during 2021. This global, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial will assess safety and efficacy of two doses of Sarconeos (BIO101) administered orally with a meal over 26 weeks, as compared to placebo.
DRY AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (MACA PROGRAM)
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an age-related degeneration of the macula, the central part of the retina. It is one of the leading causes of irreversible vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 50 worldwide. The dry (atrophic) form of AMD affects central vision and impairs many functions affecting quality of life and independent living such as reading, driving, and facial recognition. It is a multifactorial disease that we believe is mainly caused by accumulation of A2E, a byproduct of the visual pigment cycle, that leads to retinal degeneration.
Some 85-90% of AMD patients have dry AMD in some form; either early, intermediate or late stage, known as geographic atrophy (GA). There are currently no approved treatments for any stage of dry AMD, including GA.
We are developing Macuneos (BIO201) to treat patients with intermediate dry AMD to prevent the development to advanced stages, wet AMD and GA, which lead to severe vision loss. We have completed chronic and acute animal toxicology studies to support IND and clinical trial applications. It starts with a Phase 1 clinical trial (MACA-PK) to assess the safety, pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) effects of Macuneos (BIO201) in healthy volunteers, followed by a Phase 2a/b interventional study (MACA-INT) in patients with geographic atrophy (GA) in one eye and iAMD in the fellow eye.