Eblasakimab found to open lung airways of COPD patient samples

Eblasakimab may reduce symptoms in COPD with type 2 inflammation

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Treatment with the anti-inflammatory medication eblasakimab opened the airways of lung samples from people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) in laboratory experiments.

The findings were shared by Aslan Pharmaceuticals, the company that’s developing eblasakimab, in an oral presentation at the Dermatology Drug Development Summit, held recently in Boston.

The presentation was titled “Combining Neuroscience And Immunology: Exploring The Neuro-immune Circuitry Behind Itch And Inflammation By Targeting [IL-13R-alpha1] With Eblasakimab.”

“We believe that there is great potential for eblasakimab to provide an effective and differentiated treatment option for COPD,” Carl Firth, PhD, CEO of Aslan, said in a company press release.

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Eblasakimab designed to suppress type 2 receptor activity

Eblasakimab is an antibody-based therapy designed to suppress the activity of the type 2 receptor, a cell surface protein that is activated by two pro-inflammatory molecules called interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13. The treatment specifically blocks the part of the type 2 receptor that normally binds to IL-13.

IL-4 and IL-13 are the signature signaling molecules of the type 2 inflammatory response, which is central to triggering allergy symptoms in type 2-driven diseases such as COPD, asthma, and atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, which is a condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.

Type 2 inflammation is characterized by a marked increase in the number of eosinophils, a type of immune cell generally associated with allergies, in the blood. A significant proportion of COPD patients have elevated eosinophil levels in their lungs, which are associated with greater disease severity.

By suppressing these immune responses, eblasakimab may help reduce respiratory symptoms in COPD patients with type 2 inflammation.

“COPD is the third most common cause of mortality globally and is a [variable] disease with a significant proportion of patients affected by Type 2-driven [mechanisms] that have a limited range of targeted treatment options,” Firth said.

According to Aslan, previous data suggest eblasakimab is more effective at lowering levels of allergy-related and pro-inflammatory molecules than Dupixent (dupilumab), a medication that suppresses the type 2 receptor by blocking the section that normally binds to IL-4.

Dupixent, approved for several conditions associated with type 2 inflammation, has shown promising benefits in COPD patients in a Phase 3 clinical trial (NCT03930732).

Newly presented data concerned experiments testing the effects of eblasakimab in precision cut lung slices from donors with COPD.

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Eblasakimab led to airways relaxing in presence of pro-inflammatory molecules

While exposure to IL-4 and IL-13 triggered the airways to constrict in these samples — a reaction that would make breathing difficult in a person — treatment with eblasakimab blocked these effects, leading the airways to relax even in the presence of these pro-inflammatory molecules.

Treatment with eblasakimab also increased airway relaxation when the lung samples were treated with drugs that trigger either airway contraction or relaxation, and in the presence of IL-4 and IL-13.

Aslan is also developing eblasakimab as a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis, where the therapy has shown promise in early clinical trials. The company is now preparing to launch Phase 3 testing to assess the treatment’s efficacy for this indication.

The new data from COPD-affected lung slices “are key to exploring the potential of eblasakimab in other indications beyond [atopic dermatitis],” Firth said.

“While eblasakimab has already demonstrated a monthly dosing regimen in [atopic dermatitis] without compromising on efficacy, there is a vast unexplored potential in other diseases driven by the common underlying biology of Type 2 inflammation,” he added.