Oculis highlights positive phase 2 data investigating topical anti-TNFα agent licaminlimab in acute anterior uveitis

Oculis SA has published positive data of its licaminlimab active-controlled, multicenter, randomized, parallel-group Phase 2 clinical trial assessing the effect of topical licaminlimab on anterior chamber (AC) cell grade in patients with acute anterior uveitis.

Oculis SA has published positive data of its licaminlimab active-controlled, multicenter, randomized, parallel-group Phase 2 clinical trial (NCT02482129) assessing the effect of topical licaminlimab (OCS-02) on anterior chamber (AC) cell grade in patients with acute anterior uveitis (AAU).

The study is titled Topical Ocular Anti-TNFα Agent Licaminlimab in the Treatment of Acute Anterior Uveitis: A Randomized Phase II Pilot Study.1

The data showed a response rate on Day 15 of 56% for licaminlimab-treated patients, defined as a reduction from baseline in AC cell grade of ≥2 (SUN).

Secondary and exploratory endpoints in the study were also supportive of the treatment effect of licaminlimab (OCS-02) eye drops, with most patients demonstrating a reduction of ≥2 units from baseline in AC cell grade by day eight, with few patients requiring rescue therapy, most patients achieving an AC cell grade of zero in at least one visit, and the median change from baseline in AC cell grade being equivalent to responder status. Licaminlimab (OCS-02) was observed to be well tolerated, including no increase in intra-ocular pressure related to licaminlimab (OCS-02).

Anat Galor, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Health System, pointed out that there is a need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory therapies for uveitis.

“This is particularly important for patients who require longer-term anti-inflammatory treatment given that long-term steroid treatment is not optimal due to the associated side effect profile,” Galor, said. “The positive results recently published demonstrate the potential of OCS-02 as a topical, non-steroidal therapy for non-infectious anterior uveitis and have been crucial to inform the planned clinical trials for OCS-02 as a steroid-sparing treatment for patients with recurring or chronic anterior uveitis, where its unique profile may offer the greatest benefit to patients.”

Riad Sherif, MD, CEO of Oculis, lauded the results.

“These positive data further strengthen the potential of licaminlimab, if approved, to become the first topical biologic to treat anterior uveitis, which could provide patients and physicians around the globe with a non-steroidal option, an area of high medical need,” Sherif said in the news release.

Sherif added that Oculis is currently planning the start of two phase 2b studies in 2023, to further assess the potential of this novel product candidate in chronic anterior uveitis but also, in DED, another inflammatory condition, where we believe it also has tremendous potential to provide a new option to doctors to treat their patients.”

Licaminlimab (OCS-02) is an anti-TNFα antibody product candidate based on an innovative antibody fragment technology allowing it to be administered topically. Its dual mechanism of action (MoA), anti-inflammation and anti-necrosis, is clinically proven with other anti-TNFα antibodies already approved as systemic treatment for ocular diseases and with transformative impact in other therapeutic areas.

If approved, licaminlimab (OCS-02) has the potential to become the first topical anti-TNFα to be approved for treatment of non-infectious anterior uveitis, and could help address the significant medical need for a steroid-sparing agent and for a topical biologic to be indicated specifically for non-infectious anterior uveitis without the associated systemic risks.

Phase 2b clinical trials of licaminlimab (OCS-02) for the treatment of non-infectious anterior uveitis, as well as dry eye disease (DED), are currently being planned by Oculis.

Reference

1. Theodore A. Pasquali, Melissa M. Toyos, David B. Abrams, David K. Scales, John W. Seaman, III, and Georges Weissgerber. Topical Ocular Anti-TNFα Agent Licaminlimab in the Treatment of Acute Anterior Uveitis: A Randomized Phase II Pilot Study. Transl Vis Sci Technol. June 2022; 11(6): 14. Published online June 15, 2022. doi: 10.1167/tvst.11.6.14