On Monday 17th December we went to see Mereo BioPharma at their office in London. Mereo BioPharma have recently started dosing in their Phase 2 clinical trial for MPH-966 (alvelestat). The study will recruit in America, Canada, Europe and the UK. The plan is that people who are PiZZ or Pi-Null-Null can register their interest to be part of the clinical trial (while the trial website www.astraeus-alpha1.com is live, the trial cannot accept UK residents until 2019). People can state where they live and how far they are able to travel for the trial.
- There are currently 7 hospitals in the UK that have signed up to help run the trial (alphabetically):
- University Hospital Birmingham
- Cambridge University Hospital
- University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire
- Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
- University Hospital of Leicester
- Royal Brompton Hospital London
- Southampton General Hospital
Once they are ready to begin the clinical trial in the UK, we will let you know so you can access the study website and you can register your interest if you would like to be considered for the trial. Be aware that the trial sites will be unable to accept all that apply, because you must meet the trial requirements, which are designed to give the best chance to see whether alvelestat could possibly work or not and which are those approved by the UK regulatory and ethics bodies.
There are also further details of the trial available on the public clinical trial registry – clinicaltrials.gov (Identifier: NCT03636347)
As a company, Mereo BioPharma does not have medical labs or technicians. They acquire drugs that have been created and tested by other pharmaceutical companies but have been “put on the shelf” or didn’t work for their original intended purpose. Often drugs fail for their original intended purpose but can be successfully repurposed for other medical conditions where they might work. Below is how alvelestat has been tested to date:
What is alvelestat
- The investigational drug is a tablet, to be taken twice a day. The aim is to use alvelestat to block neutrophil elastase activity and prevent further damage to patients’ lungs (like a synthesised
- Alpha-1 replacement). If it works, this could have several potential bonuses:
- It doesn’t need to be refrigerated (can be stored at temperatures below 30°C).
- It has a long shelf life.
- It could be taken at home (so no long trips to the hospital for treatment).
- It can be mass produced.
- If successful it could, therefore, increase the future choice of therapies for alphas.
If the investigational drug works according to the theory being tested in the trials, the lungs won’t be constantly under attack due to the lack of Alpha-1.
This will not help with the abnormal folding alpha-1 created by the ‘Z’ allele and it will also not address the issues of liver affected patients.
The trials are in very early stages and it is far too early to say whether this could be a potential treatment or not. But it is nice to see that companies are paying attention to our community.
I am very grateful to Mereo BioPharma for allowing me to come to their office and meet their Chief Executive Officer, executive team members and the department heads responsible for the alvelestat development programme. To be able to connect with other support groups and organisations around the world is a big thing for us. We are all here to help Alphas, so we need to work together and share our knowledge.
Mereo BioPharma: https://www.mereobiopharma.com/pipeline/mph-966-alvelestat
Clinical Trials: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03636347