ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Announces New Translational Data on Eblasakimab in COPD and Appoints Leading Respiratory Experts as Scientific Advisors

  • New translational data from a head-to-head study of eblasakimab and dupilumab in a human tissue model of COPD shows eblasakimab performed better than dupilumab in improving airway function and enhancing bronchodilation at the same concentrations
  • Leading respiratory experts, Ramaswamy Krishnan, PhD, and Reynold Panettieri, MD, appointed as scientific advisors to provide strategic counsel on eblasakimab’s differentiation for future clinical development in COPD

SAN MATEO, Calif. and SINGAPORE, March 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq: ASLN), a clinical-stage, immunology focused biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to transform the lives of patients, today announced new positive translational data from a head-to-head study of eblasakimab versus dupilumab in a human tissue model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that provides further support for the potential of eblasakimab as a biologic therapy for COPD. In addition, the Company announced the appointment of respiratory experts Dr Ramaswamy Krishnan, MS MPhil PhD, Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Dr Reynold Panettieri Jr, MD, Vice Chancellor, Translational Medicine and Science, Rutgers University to ASLAN’s Scientific Advisory Board as it evaluates the potential use of eblasakimab as a therapy to treat COPD in addition to atopic dermatitis (AD).

“Having collaborated with the ASLAN team on the impressive translational data from the head-to-head study of eblasakimab and dupilumab in COPD patient tissue, I am pleased to formally join the Scientific Advisory Board to further explore eblasakimab’s potential in COPD,” said Dr Ramaswamy Krishnan, MS MPhil PhD, Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

“I’m delighted to work with the ASLAN team on this exciting opportunity to evaluate development paths for eblasakimab in COPD, a Type 2-driven disease. I believe there’s a great opportunity for biologics to transform the treatment landscape for this chronic condition, just as we have observed in the management of other respiratory diseases such as severe asthma. These new data suggest eblasakimab has the potential to be a best-in-class biologic treatment for COPD and I look forward to our partnership,” said Dr Reynold Panettieri Jr, MD, Vice Chancellor, Translational Medicine and Science, Rutgers University.

In November 2023, ASLAN announced translational data from healthy donor tissue that suggested eblasakimab’s potential as a COPD therapeutic to inhibit Type 2 inflammation. Further studies have been conducted using lung tissue from a COPD patient, comparing the same concentrations of eblasakimab and dupilumab. Each treatment condition was tested in at least 6 precision cut lung slices. In the COPD patient tissue, eblasakimab was effective in restoring constriction in response to challenges with IL-4 and IL-13, and demonstrated rapid, formoterol-induced airway dilation in constricted airways. Formoterol is a long-acting beta agonist, a class of drugs commonly used by asthmatic and COPD patients to treat their disease. Notably, this preliminary data showed eblasakimab performed better than dupilumab at the same concentrations in several areas, including the restoration of airway function after challenges with IL-4 and IL-13.

“We believe that eblasakimab has the potential to be a leading treatment option as we explore its applicability in other diseases besides AD, such as COPD, a large, underserved market with no approved biologics. We look forward to working with Drs Krishnan and Panettieri, and potential partners, to consider potential proof-of-concept Phase 2 study designs in COPD and exploring novel endpoints from recently conducted biologic studies,” said Dr Carl Firth, Chief Executive Officer, ASLAN Pharmaceuticals.

Further translational data on eblasakimab in COPD will be submitted for publication at upcoming scientific congresses.

About Ramaswamy Krishnan, MS MPhil PhD, Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Ramaswamy Krishnan, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory focuses on lung mechanics and mechanotransduction, with an emphasis on how airways contract and relax. To this end, he has invented a suite of technologies to measure airway cell and tissue contraction, relaxation, force transmission, and force transduction. These technologies have not only enabled the discovery of new drug candidates for COPD and asthma in his own laboratory, but are also being utilized worldwide as translational approaches for assessing bronchoprotective and bronchodilatory function of pending candidate medications. Dr Krishnan received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and undertook his postdoctoral research in lung physiology at Harvard. He has published over 75 articles, reviews, editorials and chapters, many in renowned peer-reviewed journals including Nature Cell Biology and Nature Materials

About Dr Reynold Panettieri Jr, MD Vice Chancellor, Translational Medicine and Science, Rutgers University

Reynold A Panettieri Jr, MD, is the inaugural Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Science and Vice Chancellor for Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University, having previously served as the Director of the Airways Biology Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Panettieri’s lab focuses on the immunobiology of airway smooth muscle, impact of environmental toxins on airway hyperresponsiveness and identification of novel targets and platforms for therapeutic approaches in asthma and COPD. In addition to his research and clinical interests, Dr Panettieri served as chairperson of the NIH Lung Cellular, Molecular and Immunobiology Study Section, and is a member of the NIH Distinguished Editorial Panel. Dr Panettieri has about 450 publications and undertook his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania.

About eblasakimab

Eblasakimab is a potential first-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting the IL-13 receptor subunit of the Type 2 receptor, a key pathway driving several allergic inflammatory diseases. Eblasakimab’s unique mechanism of action enables specific blockade of the Type 2 receptor and has the potential to improve upon current biologics used to treat allergic disease. By blocking the Type 2 receptor, eblasakimab prevents signaling through both interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 13 (IL-13) – the key drivers of inflammation in AD and Type 2-driven COPD. Positive results from the Phase 2b TREK-AD study in moderate-to-severe AD support eblasakimab’s potential to deliver a monthly dosing regimen from initiation in AD without compromising on efficacy and with an encouraging safety profile demonstrated to date, with preparations for Phase 3 underway. ASLAN is also investigating eblasakimab in dupilumab-experienced, moderate-to-severe AD patients in the Phase 2 trial, TREK-DX.   

About ASLAN Pharmaceuticals

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ASLN) is a clinical-stage, immunology-focused biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to transform the lives of patients. ASLAN is developing eblasakimab, a potential first-in-class antibody targeting the IL-13 receptor in moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) with the potential to improve upon current biologics used to treat allergic disease, and has reported positive topline data from a Phase 2b dose-ranging study in moderate-to-severe AD patients. ASLAN is also developing farudodstat, a potent oral inhibitor of the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) as a potential first-in-class treatment for alopecia areata (AA) in a Phase 2a, proof-of-concept trial with an interim readout expected in mid-2024. ASLAN has teams in San Mateo, California, and in Singapore. For additional information please visit the ASLAN website or follow ASLAN on LinkedIn.

Forward-looking statements

This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the current beliefs and expectations of the management of ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Limited and/or its affiliates (the "Company"). These forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to statements regarding the Company’s business strategy and clinical development plans; the Company’s plans to develop and commercialize eblasakimab and farudodstat; the safety and efficacy of eblasakimab and farudodstat; the Company’s plans and expected timing with respect to manufacturing activities, clinical trials, clinical trial enrolment and clinical trial results for eblasakimab and farudodstat; the potential of eblasakimab as a first-in-class treatment for atopic dermatitis and of farudodstat as a first-in-class treatment for alopecia areata; the potential benefits, capabilities and results of the Company’s collaboration efforts; and the Company’s cash runway. The Company’s estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements are based on management's current assumptions and expectations of future events and trends, which affect or may affect the Company’s business, strategy, operations, or financial performance, and inherently involve significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of many risks and uncertainties, which include, unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical or clinical studies; the fact that results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results; clinical site activation rates or clinical trial enrolment rates that are lower than expected; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia and bank failures on the Company’s business and the global economy; general market conditions; changes in the competitive landscape; and the Company’s ability to obtain sufficient financing to fund its strategic and clinical development plans. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements are described in the Company’s US Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports (Commission File No. 001- 38475), including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on March 24, 2023. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “might,” “could,” “will,” “aim,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “plan,” or the negative of those terms, and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes are intended to identify estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements. Estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made, and, except to the extent required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update or review any estimate, projection, or forward-looking statement.

Media and IR contacts

Emma Thompson
Spurwing Communications
Tel: +65 6206 7350
Ashley R. Robinson
LifeSci Advisors, LLC
Tel: +1 (617) 430-7577

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