Source: La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company Announces Initiation of Multicenter, Randomized, Phase 2 Clinical Study of LJPC‑401 in Patients with Hereditary Hemochromatosis

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ:LJPC) (the Company or La Jolla) today announced the initiation of LJ401-HH01, a Phase 2 clinical study of LJPC‑401 (synthetic human hepcidin) in patients with hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). The most common genetic disease in Caucasians, HH is a disease characterized by a genetic mutation that results in a deficiency in the production of hepcidin, which is the body’s naturally occurring regulator of iron absorption and distribution. Without normal levels of hepcidin, excessive amounts of iron accumulate in the body. Symptoms of the disease include joint pain, abdominal pain, fatigue and weakness. If left untreated, HH can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, heart disease and/or failure and diabetes.

LJ401-HH01 is a multinational, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, Phase 2 study that is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of LJPC-401 as a treatment for HH. Approximately 60 patients will be randomized to receive weekly subcutaneous injections of either LJPC‑401 or placebo for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint of the study is the change in transferrin saturation, a standard measurement of iron levels in the body and one of the two key measurements used to detect iron overload, from baseline to end of treatment. Secondary efficacy endpoints include: (i) the change in serum ferritin, the other key measurement used to detect iron overload, from baseline to end of treatment; and (ii) the requirement for and frequency of phlebotomy procedures during the study.

“There is a major need for new treatment modalities that improve the quality of life of the many patients suffering from hereditary hemochromatosis,” stated Jeff Vacirca, M.D., Chief of Clinical Research at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists and investigator in the study. “I am excited to be included in the clinical evaluation of a treatment that harnesses the body’s natural mechanism for iron regulation in a patient-friendly treatment regimen that could potentially reduce or eliminate the need for phlebotomy procedures in these patients.”

“Following the results of Phase 1 clinical studies that demonstrated that the administration of LJPC-401 resulted in dose-dependent reductions in iron levels, we are pleased to initiate LJ401-HH01 to evaluate the therapeutic potential of LJPC-401 in the important patient population of hereditary hemochromatosis,” said George F. Tidmarsh, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of La Jolla. “With the recent initiation of LJ401-BT01, our pivotal study of LJPC-401 in beta thalassemia patients, LJPC-401 now is being evaluated in two, multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical studies. These studies are important components of our overall development program for LJPC-401, which is aimed at helping the many patients suffering from the effects of iron overload due to a variety of underlying causes.”

The current standard treatment for HH is a blood removal procedure known as phlebotomy. Each phlebotomy procedure, which is usually conducted at a hospital, medical office or blood center, typically involves the removal of approximately a pint of blood. The required frequency of procedures varies by patient, but often ranges from one to two times per week for an initial period after diagnosis and once every one to three months chronically. Since most of the body’s iron is stored in red blood cells, chronic removal of blood can effectively lower iron levels if a phlebotomy regimen is adhered to. However, phlebotomy procedures may cause and may be associated with pain, bruising and scarring at the venous puncture site, fatigue and dizziness during and following the procedure and disruption of daily activities. Furthermore, phlebotomy is not appropriate in patients with poor venous access, anemia or heart disease.

About LJPC‑401

La Jolla is developing LJPC-401 (synthetic human hepcidin) for the potential treatment of iron overload, which occurs as a result of diseases such as hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), beta thalassemia, sickle cell disease (SCD) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Hepcidin, an endogenous peptide hormone, is the body’s naturally occurring regulator of iron absorption and distribution. In healthy individuals, hepcidin prevents excessive iron accumulation in vital organs, such as the liver and heart, where it can cause significant damage and even result in death. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) has designated LJPC‑401 as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of beta thalassemia intermedia and major and SCD.

In September 2016, La Jolla reported positive results from a Phase 1 study of LJPC-401 in patients at risk of iron overload suffering from hereditary hemochromatosis, thalassemia and SCD. Single, escalating doses of LJPC-401 were associated with a dose-dependent, statistically significant reduction in serum iron. LJPC-401 was well-tolerated with no dose-limiting toxicities. Injection-site reactions were the most commonly reported adverse event and were all mild or moderate in severity, self-limiting and fully resolved.

In December 2017, La Jolla announced the initiation of a pivotal, multinational, multicenter, randomized, controlled study of LJPC-401 in patients with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia who, despite chelation therapy, have cardiac iron levels above normal. La Jolla had previously announced that it had reached agreement with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the design of this registration study of LJPC-401.

About Hereditary Hemochromatosis

Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is the most common genetic disease in Caucasians. HH is a disease characterized by a genetic mutation that results in a deficiency in the production of hepcidin, which is the body’s naturally occurring regulator of iron absorption and distribution. Without normal levels of hepcidin, excessive amounts of iron accumulate in the body. Symptoms of the disease include joint pain, abdominal pain, fatigue and weakness. If left untreated, HH can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, heart disease and/or failure and diabetes.

The current standard treatment for HH is a blood removal procedure known as phlebotomy. Each phlebotomy procedure, which is usually conducted at a hospital, medical office or blood center, typically involves the removal of approximately a pint of blood. The required frequency of procedures varies by patient, but often ranges from one to two times per week for an initial period after diagnosis and once every one to three months chronically. Since most of the body’s iron is stored in red blood cells, chronic removal of blood can effectively lower iron levels if a phlebotomy regimen is adhered to. However, phlebotomy procedures may cause and may be associated with pain, bruising and scarring at the venous puncture site, fatigue and dizziness during and following the procedure and disruption of daily activities. Furthermore, phlebotomy is not appropriate in patients with poor venous access, anemia or heart disease.

About La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies intended to significantly improve outcomes in patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. The Company has several product candidates in development. LJPC‑501 (synthetic human angiotensin II) is being developed for the potential treatment of hypotension in adult patients with distributive or vasodilatory shock who remain hypotensive despite fluid and vasopressor therapy. LJPC‑401 (synthetic human hepcidin) is being developed for the potential treatment of conditions characterized by iron overload, such as hereditary hemochromatosis, beta thalassemia, sickle cell disease and myelodysplastic syndrome. For more information on La Jolla, please visit www.ljpc.com.

Forward Looking Statement Safe Harbor

This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events or the Company’s future results of operations. These statements are only predictions or statements of current expectations and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, that may cause actual results to be materially different from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements. The Company cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they were made. Certain of these risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in greater detail in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all of which are available free of charge on the SEC’s website www.sec.gov. These risks include, but are not limited to, risks relating to: the timing, costs, conduct and outcome of clinical studies; the anticipated treatment of future clinical data by the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities, including whether such data will be sufficient for approval; the timing and prospects for approval of LJPC-501 or LJPC-401 by the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities; risks relating to the scope of product labels (if approved); potential market sizes; the success of future development activities; potential indications for which the Company’s product candidates may be developed; the anticipated timing for regulatory actions; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare legislation in the United States; and the success of future development activities. The Company expressly disclaims any intent to update any forward‑looking statements to reflect the outcome of subsequent events.

Company Contacts

Sandra Vedrick
Associate Director, Investor Relations & Human Resources
La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company
Phone: 858 207 4264 Ext: 1135
Email: svedrick@ljpc.com

and

Dennis M. Mulroy
Chief Financial Officer
La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company
Phone: 858 207 4264 Ext: 1040
Email: dmulroy@ljpc.com