A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Global Phase 3 Study of Edasalonexent in Pediatric Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Results of the PolarisDMD Trial

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2021;8(5):769-784. doi: 10.3233/JND-210689.


Background: Edasalonexent (CAT-1004) is an orally-administered novel small molecule drug designed to inhibit NF-κB and potentially reduce inflammation and fibrosis to improve muscle function and thereby slow disease progression and muscle decline in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Objective: This international, randomized 2 : 1, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study in patients ≥4 - < 8 years old with DMD due to any dystrophin mutation examined the effect of edasalonexent (100 mg/kg/day) compared to placebo over 52 weeks.

Methods: Endpoints were changes in the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA; primary) and timed function tests (TFTs; secondary). Assessment of health-related function used the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection tool (PODCI).

Results: One hundred thirty one patients received edasalonexent (n = 88) and placebo (n = 43). At week 52, differences between edasalonexent and placebo for NSAA total score and TFTs were not statistically significant, although there were consistently less functional declines in the edasalonexent group. A pre-specified analysis by age demonstrated that younger patients (≤6.0 years) showed more robust and statistically significant differences between edasalonexent and placebo for some assessments. Treatment was well-tolerated and the majority of adverse events were mild, and most commonly involved the gastrointestinal system (primarily diarrhea).

Conclusions: Edasalonexent was generally well-tolerated with a manageable safety profile at the dose of 100 mg/kg/day. Although edasalonexent did not achieve statistical significance for improvement in primary and secondary functional endpoints for assessment of DMD, subgroup analysis suggested that edasalonexent may slow disease progression if initiated before 6 years of age. (NCT03703882).

Keywords: CAT-1004; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; NF-κB; age effects; edasalonexent.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Arachidonic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / drug therapy*
  • NF-kappa B
  • Salicylamides / therapeutic use*


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • NF-kappa B
  • Salicylamides
  • edasalonexent

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03703882