Phase 3 Trial of RNAi Therapeutic Givosiran for Acute Intermittent Porphyria

N Engl J Med. 2020 Jun 11;382(24):2289-2301. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1913147.


Background: Up-regulation of hepatic delta-aminolevulinic acid synthase 1 (ALAS1), with resultant accumulation of delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and porphobilinogen, is central to the pathogenesis of acute attacks and chronic symptoms in acute hepatic porphyria. Givosiran, an RNA interference therapy, inhibits ALAS1 expression.

Methods: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned symptomatic patients with acute hepatic porphyria to receive either subcutaneous givosiran (2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight) or placebo monthly for 6 months. The primary end point was the annualized rate of composite porphyria attacks among patients with acute intermittent porphyria, the most common subtype of acute hepatic porphyria. (Composite porphyria attacks resulted in hospitalization, an urgent health care visit, or intravenous administration of hemin at home.) Key secondary end points were levels of ALA and porphobilinogen and the annualized attack rate among patients with acute hepatic porphyria, along with hemin use and daily worst pain scores in patients with acute intermittent porphyria.

Results: A total of 94 patients underwent randomization (48 in the givosiran group and 46 in the placebo group). Among the 89 patients with acute intermittent porphyria, the mean annualized attack rate was 3.2 in the givosiran group and 12.5 in the placebo group, representing a 74% lower rate in the givosiran group (P<0.001); the results were similar among the 94 patients with acute hepatic porphyria. Among the patients with acute intermittent porphyria, givosiran led to lower levels of urinary ALA and porphobilinogen, fewer days of hemin use, and better daily scores for pain than placebo. Key adverse events that were observed more frequently in the givosiran group were elevations in serum aminotransferase levels, changes in serum creatinine levels and the estimated glomerular filtration rate, and injection-site reactions.

Conclusions: Among patients with acute intermittent porphyria, those who received givosiran had a significantly lower rate of porphyria attacks and better results for multiple other disease manifestations than those who received placebo. The increased efficacy was accompanied by a higher frequency of hepatic and renal adverse events. (Funded by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; ENVISION number, NCT03338816.).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylgalactosamine / adverse effects
  • Acetylgalactosamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acetylgalactosamine / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / urine*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Porphobilinogen / urine*
  • Porphyria, Acute Intermittent / complications
  • Porphyria, Acute Intermittent / drug therapy*
  • Porphyria, Acute Intermittent / urine
  • Pyrrolidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrrolidines / therapeutic use*
  • RNAi Therapeutics*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / chemically induced
  • Transaminases / blood


  • Pyrrolidines
  • Porphobilinogen
  • Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Transaminases
  • Acetylgalactosamine
  • givosiran

Associated data