Purpose: AT04A and AT06A are two AFFITOPE® peptide vaccine candidates being developed for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia by inducing proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9)-specific antibodies. This study aimed to investigate safety, tolerability, antibody development, and reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc) following four subcutaneous immunizations.
Methods: This phase I, single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted in a total of 72 healthy subjects with a mean fasting LDLc level at baseline of 117.1 mg/dL (range 77-196 mg/dL). Each cohort enrolled 24 subjects to receive three priming immunizations at weeks 0, 4, and 8 and to receive a single booster immunization at week 60 of either AT04A, AT06A, or placebo. In addition to safety (primary objective), the antigenic peptide- and PCSK9-specific antibody response and the impact on LDLc were evaluated over a period of 90 weeks.
Results: The most common systemic treatment-related adverse events (AEs) reported were fatigue, headache, and myalgia in 75% of subjects in the AT06A group and 58% and 46% of subjects in the placebo and AT04A groups, respectively. Injection site reactions (ISR) representing 63% of all treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), were transient and mostly of mild or moderate intensity and rarely severe (3%). Both active treatments triggered a robust, long-lasting antibody response towards the antigenic peptides used for immunization that optimally cross-reacted with the target epitope on PCSK9. In the AT04A group, a reduction in serum LDLc was observed with a mean peak reduction of 11.2% and 13.3% from baseline compared to placebo at week 20 and 70 respectively, and over the whole study period, the mean LDLc reduction for the AT04A group vs. placebo was -7.2% (95% CI [-10.4 to -3.9], P < 0.0001). In this group, PCSK9 target epitope titers above 50 were associated with clinically relevant LDLc reductions with an individual maximal decrease of 39%.
Conclusions: Although both AT04A and AT06 were safe and immunogenic, only AT04A demonstrated significant LDLc-lowering activity, justifying further development.
Trial registration: EudraCT: 2015-001719-11. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02508896.
Keywords: Active immunotherapy; First-in-human study; Hypercholesterolemia; In vivo antibody development; LDLc reduction; PCSK9.
© 2021. The Author(s).