Clinical Effects of the Self-administered Subcutaneous Complement Inhibitor Zilucoplan in Patients With Moderate to Severe Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: Results of a Phase 2 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Clinical Trial

JAMA Neurol. 2020 May 1;77(5):582-592. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.5125.


Importance: Many patients with generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) have substantial clinical disability, persistent disease burden, and adverse effects attributable to chronic immunosuppression. Therefore, there is a significant need for targeted, well-tolerated therapies with the potential to improve disease control and enhance quality of life.

Objective: To evaluate the clinical effects of zilucoplan, a subcutaneously (SC) self-administered macrocyclic peptide inhibitor of complement component 5, in a broad population of patients with moderate to severe gMG.

Design, setting, and participants: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trial at 25 study sites across North America recruited participants between December 2017 and August 2018. Fifty-seven patients were screened, of whom 12 did not meet inclusion criteria and 1 was lost to follow-up after randomization but before receiving study drug, resulting in a total of 44 acetylcholine receptor autoantibody (AChR-Ab)-positive patients with gMG with baseline Quantitative Myasthenia Gravis (QMG) scores of at least 12, regardless of treatment history.

Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1:1 to a daily SC self-injection of placebo, 0.1-mg/kg zilucoplan, or 0.3-mg/kg zilucoplan for 12 weeks.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary and key secondary end points were the change from baseline to week 12 in QMG and MG Activities of Daily Living scores, respectively. Significance testing was prespecified at a 1-sided α of .10. Safety and tolerability were also assessed.

Results: The study of 44 patients was well balanced across the 3 treatment arms with respect to key demographic and disease-specific variables. The mean age of patients across all 3 treatment groups ranged from 45.5 to 54.6 years and most patients were white (average proportions across 3 treatment groups: 78.6%-86.7%). Clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements in primary and key secondary efficacy end points were observed. Zilucoplan at a dose of 0.3 mg/kg SC daily resulted in a mean reduction from baseline of 6.0 points in the QMG score (placebo-corrected change, -2.8; P = .05) and 3.4 points in the MG Activities of Daily Living score (placebo-corrected change, -2.3; P = .04). Clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements were also observed in other secondary end points, the MG Composite and MG Quality-of-Life scores. Outcomes for the 0.1-mg/kg SC daily dose were also statistically significant but slower in onset and less pronounced than with the 0.3-mg/kg dose. Rescue therapy (intravenous immunoglobulin or plasma exchange) was required in 3 of 15, 1 of 15, and 0 of 14 participants in the placebo, 0.1-mg/kg zilucoplan, and 0.3-mg/kg zilucoplan arms, respectively. Zilucoplan was observed to have a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

Conclusions and relevance: Zilucoplan yielded rapid, meaningful, and sustained improvements over 12 weeks in a broad population of patients with moderate to severe AChR-Ab-positive gMG. Near-complete complement inhibition appeared superior to submaximal inhibition. The observed safety and tolerability profile of zilucoplan was favorable.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT03315130.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Complement C5 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Complement Inactivating Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis / drug therapy*
  • Self Administration


  • Complement C5
  • Complement Inactivating Agents

Associated data