Denosumab may show promise in the treatment of osteoporosis
Feb 23, 2006 - 3:10:37 PM

Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, announced today the publication of Phase 2 data demonstrating twice-yearly injections of denosumab (previously referred to as AMG 162), a RANK Ligand inhibitor, significantly increased bone mineral density (BMD) in the total hip, lumbar spine, distal 1/3 radius and total body compared to placebo. The results of this one-year study appeared in the Feb. 23, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Data results also included an open-label FOSAMAX® (alendronate)* arm of the same clinical trial.
Researchers reported that subcutaneous injections of denosumab significantly increased BMD at the total hip from 1.9 to 3.6 percent in women who were administered the therapy twice yearly as compared with a decrease of 0.6 percent in the placebo group (p less than 0.001) at one year. The open label FOSAMAX® group receiving 70 mg weekly had an increase of 2.1 percent during the same time frame. Results also indicated that denosumab had a rapid onset of action. A significant decrease in serum levels of C-telopeptide, a biomarker of bone resorption, was achieved within 72 hours after dosing.

"These exciting data suggest that denosumab, when administered in twice-yearly injections, may show promise in the treatment of osteoporosis," said Michael McClung, MD, FACP, principal investigator of the denosumab study, Providence Portland Medical Center, and director of the Oregon Osteoporosis Center, Portland, Ore. "Continued research will further our understanding of the potential of denosumab in bone loss management."

Denosumab targets RANK Ligand, a protein that acts as the primary mediator of osteoclast (cells that break down bone) activity. This investigational therapy is the first RANK Ligand inhibitor in late stage development.

Amgen is studying denosumab for its potential in a broad range of conditions associated with bone destruction including osteoporosis, treatment-induced bone loss, bone metastases, multiple myeloma and rheumatoid arthritis. Data recently presented at the American College of Rheumatology 2005 Annual Scientific Meeting show further increase in bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis after two years of treatment.

"These data reinforce the essential role that RANK Ligand inhibition plays in decreasing bone loss," said Willard Dere, MD, senior vice president of global development and chief medical officer, Amgen. "We are committed to expanding our data on denosumab with an extensive Phase 3 clinical program to evaluate the effect of denosumab on preventing fractures in men and women."

In the one-year trial results, researchers also reported twice-yearly subcutaneous injections of denosumab significantly increased lumbar spine BMD from 3.0 to 6.7 percent after 12 months as compared with a decrease of 0.8 percent in the placebo-treated patients (p less than 0.001). Across all doses and dosing intervals, distal 1/3 radius BMD increased from 0.4 to 1.3 percent as compared with a decrease of 2.0 percent in those taking placebo (p less than 0.001), and total body BMD increased from 0.6 to 2.8 percent as compared with a decrease of 0.2 percent in the placebo group (p less than 0.01).

The incidence of adverse events was similar among the denosumab, placebo, and FOSAMAX® groups, with the exception of dyspepsia. Dyspepsia occurred in 7 percent of placebo patients, 6 to 15 percent of denosumab patients and 26 percent of open-label FOSAMAX® patients. The most common adverse events among all groups included upper respiratory infection (common cold), arthralgia (joint pain), nasopharyngitis (sore throat), back pain and headache. No neutralizing antibodies to denosumab were observed.

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