Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common, debilitating, chronic disease with no disease-modifying drug approved to date. We discovered LNA043-a derivative of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3)-as a potent chondrogenesis inducer using a phenotypic screen with human mesenchymal stem cells. We show that LNA043 promotes chondrogenesis and cartilage matrix synthesis in vitro and regenerates hyaline articular cartilage in preclinical OA and cartilage injury models in vivo. LNA043 exerts at least part of these effects through binding to the fibronectin receptor, integrin α5β1 on mesenchymal stem cells and chondrocytes. In a first-in-human (phase 1), randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, single ascending dose, single-center trial ( NCT02491281 ; sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals), 28 patients with knee OA were injected intra-articularly with LNA043 or placebo (3:1 ratio) either 2 h, 7 d or 21 d before total knee replacement. LNA043 met its primary safety endpoint and showed short serum pharmacokinetics, cartilage penetration and a lack of immunogenicity (secondary endpoints). Post-hoc transcriptomics profiling of cartilage revealed that a single LNA043 injection reverses the OA transcriptome signature over at least 21 d, inducing the expression of hyaline cartilage matrix components and anabolic signaling pathways, while suppressing mediators of OA progression. LNA043 is a novel disease-modifying OA drug candidate that is currently in a phase 2b trial ( NCT04864392 ) in patients with knee OA.
© 2022. The Author(s).