Kallikrein is the key contact system mediator responsible for the conversion of high-molecular-weight kininogen into the inflammatory vasodilator peptide bradykinin, a process regulated by C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH). In hereditary angioedema (HAE), genetic mutations result in deficient or dysfunctional C1-INH and dysregulation of the contact system leading to recurrent, sometimes fatal, angioedema attacks. IONIS-PKKRx is a second-generation 2'-O-(2-methoxyethyl)-modified chimeric antisense oligonucleotide, designed to bind and selectively reduce prekallikrein (PKK) mRNA in the liver. IONIS-PKKRx demonstrated dose-dependent reduction of human prekallikrein hepatic mRNA and plasma protein in transgenic mice and dose- and time-dependent reductions of plasma PKK in Cynomolgus monkeys. Similar dose-dependent reductions of plasma PKK levels were observed in healthy human volunteers accompanied by decreases in bradykinin generation capacity with an acceptable safety and tolerability profile. These results highlight a novel and specific approach to target PKK for the treatment of HAE and other diseases involving contact system activation and overproduction of bradykinin.
Keywords: antisense oligonucleotide; hereditary angioedema; plasma prekallikrein.