Antisense therapy targeting apolipoprotein(a): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 study

Lancet. 2015 Oct 10;386(10002):1472-83. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61252-1. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


Background: Lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and calcific aortic valve stenosis. No effective therapies to lower plasma Lp(a) concentrations exist. We have assessed the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ISIS-APO(a)Rx, a second-generation antisense drug designed to reduce the synthesis of apolipoprotein(a) (apo[a]) in the liver.

Methods: In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 study at the PAREXEL Clinical Pharmacology Research Unit (Harrow, Middlesex, UK), we screened for healthy adults aged 18-65 years, with a body-mass index less than 32·0 kg/m(2), and Lp(a) concentration of 25 nmol/L (100 mg/L) or more. Via a randomisation technique, we randomly assigned participants to receive a single subcutaneous injection of ISIS-APO(a)Rx (50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, or 400 mg) or placebo (3:1) in the single-dose part of the study or to receive six subcutaneous injections of ISIS-APO(a)Rx (100 mg, 200 mg, or 300 mg, for a total dose exposure of 600 mg, 1200 mg, or 1800 mg) or placebo (4:1) during a 4 week period in the multi-dose part of the study. Participants, investigators, and study staff were masked to the treatment assignment, except for the pharmacist who prepared the ISIS-APO(a)Rx or placebo. The primary efficacy endpoint was the percentage change from baseline in Lp(a) concentration at 30 days in the single-dose cohorts and at 36 days for the multi-dose cohorts. Safety and tolerability was assessed 1 week after last dose and included determination of the incidence, severity, and dose relation of adverse events and changes in laboratory variables, including lipid panel, routine haematology, blood chemistry, urinalysis, coagulation, and complement variables. Other assessments included vital signs, a physical examination, and 12-lead electrocardiograph. This trial is registered with European Clinical Trials Database, number 2012-004909-27.

Findings: Between Feb 27, 2013, and July 15, 2013, 47 (23%) of 206 screened volunteers were randomly assigned to receive ISIS-APO(a)Rx as a single-dose or multi-dose of ascending concentrations or placebo. In the single-dose study, we assigned three participants to receive 50 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, three participants to receive 100 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, three participants to receive 200 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, three participants to receive 400 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, and four participants to receive placebo. All 16 participants completed treatment and follow-up and were included in the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and safety analyses. For the multi-dose study, we assigned eight participants to receive six doses of 100 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, nine participants to receive six doses of 200 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, eight participants to receive six doses of 300 mg ISIS-APO(a)Rx, and six participants to receive six doses of placebo. Whereas single doses of ISIS-APO(a)Rx (50-400 mg) did not decrease Lp(a) concentrations at day 30, six doses of ISIS-APO(a)Rx (100-300 mg) resulted in dose-dependent, mean percentage decreases in plasma Lp(a) concentration of 39·6% from baseline in the 100 mg group (p=0·005), 59·0% in the 200 mg group (p=0·001), and 77·8% in the 300 mg group (p=0·001). Similar reductions were observed in the amount of oxidized phospholipids associated with apolipoprotein B-100 and apolipoprotein(a). Mild injection site reactions were the most common adverse events.

Interpretation: ISIS-APO(a)Rx results in potent, dose-dependent, selective reductions of plasma Lp(a). The safety and tolerability support continued clinical development of ISIS-APO(a)Rx as a potential therapeutic drug to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and calcific aortic valve stenosis in patients with elevated Lp(a) concentration.

Funding: Isis Pharmaceuticals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apolipoproteins A / administration & dosage*
  • Apolipoproteins A / genetics
  • Apoprotein(a) / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotides / administration & dosage
  • Oligonucleotides / pharmacokinetics
  • Oligonucleotides / pharmacology
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / administration & dosage*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacokinetics
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Apolipoproteins A
  • ISIS-APO(a)Rx
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Apoprotein(a)

Associated data

  • EudraCT/2012-004909-27