BIOCAD has advanced a novel medicine for autoimmune diseases that include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The company’s new drug candidate BCD-121 is forecast to increase the efficacy of RA treatment up to 20% compared with currently available therapies.
Current treatments for RA patients inhibit one inflammatory protein or its receptor, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin 17 (IL17), or the receptor of interleukin 6 (IL6R). BCD-121 is a new bispecific monoclonal antibody molecule capable of simultaneously blocking two proteins. BCD-121 has been found to have superior functional properties and it works in a convenient subcutaneous form (by injection under the skin).
“Bispecific antibodies have synergetic effects that are likely to result in higher efficacy in comparison to monospecific antibodies that are targeting only one protein,” said BIOCAD’s vice president of research and development, and business development Roman Ivanov in a press release.
Over time, about one-third of patients with RA become resistant to monospecific drugs, which means that medicine blocking only one inflammatory protein looses its treatment potential, but BCD-121 is showing to be a solution for patients resistant to monospecific drugs.
Only a few other companies are developing identical bispecific molecules. BIOCAD is planning to advance BCD-121 into a Phase I clinical trial this year. The clinical development program is expected to last through 2021. BIOCAD expects BCD-121 to be on the market in 2022.
Orencia (abatacept) is a modified antibody drug that interferes with the immune activity of T-cells and can treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as prevent joint damage. The therapy can also be used to treat arthritis in children who are at least 6 years old.
In the AGREE Phase 3b study, Orencia underwent a multinational, randomized, double-blind, 12-month clinical trial that evaluated patients who had never taken methotrexate (MTX) with early, rapidly progressing RA patients. The study showed that Orencia intravenous, in combination with MTX, exhibited significant efficacy compared with MTX alone.