Ventus’ NLRP3 Inhibitor Shows Potential for CNS Diseases in Phase 1 Trial

Ventus Therapeutics, a US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging its exclusive structural biology and computational chemistry platform, ReSOLVE™, has disclosed promising findings from its Phase 1 clinical study of VENT-02. The company’s selective brain-penetrant NLRP3 small molecule inhibitor has demonstrated a broad therapeutic index and complete target coverage. Initiation of clinical trials in CNS diseases is expected to begin in the second half of 2024.

VENT-02 is a novel, orally administered brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitor. The Phase 1 clinical trial assessed the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, safety, and tolerability of VENT-02 across various single and multiple ascending doses in adult healthy volunteers.

Xavier Valencia, M.D., Head of Clinical Development at Ventus said:

“We are pleased with the results of this trial in which VENT-02 demonstrated a broad therapeutic index and complete target coverage, underscoring its potential to treat diseases of the CNS as well as peripheral diseases with high unmet needs. Our next trial for VENT-02, a Phase 1b trial in patients with Parkinson’s disease, will evaluate multiple doses and dose regimens against a placebo control and assess a collection of markers that map multiple components of inflammation to disease activity. Based on the promising pharmacodynamic and safety data from this Phase 1 trial and our clinical development plans, we believe VENT-02 is poised to demonstrate best-in-class potential.”

VENT-02 was well-tolerated according to the Phase 1 clinical trial data, with no dose-limiting toxicities or serious adverse events reported and only mild or moderate treatment-related adverse events observed. The moderate adverse events included headache and nausea and were only observed at a dose multiple times higher than the intended therapeutic doses.

VENT-02 demonstrated full target engagement through 100% inhibition of IL-1ß in the blood in an ex vivo whole blood challenge assay, significant drug levels in the CSF for 24 hours, and robust reduction of inflammatory biomarkers such as hsCRP. Based on the half-life and target coverage observed in the trial, VENT-02 has demonstrated the potential for once-daily dosing.

Ventus Ready to Bring VENT-02 into CNS Diseases

Ventus President and CEO, Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D. said:

“The excellent properties of VENT-02 are a reflection of Ventus’ industry-leading exploration of NLRP3, including demonstrating proof-of-concept in preclinical studies in multiple disease-relevant models, validating biomarkers, and collaborating with academic institutions and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. As a result, we are ready to bring VENT-02 into Parkinson’s disease and other pre-defined diseases where the CNS plays an important role, capitalizing on innovative trials that we are crafting to be informative in reducing risk in the future steps of clinical development. In addition, we expect that our planned trials will allow us to explore the potential impact of NLRP3 inhibition across multiple patient populations suffering from serious diseases.”

Ventus expects to initiate a Phase 1b trial of VENT-02 in patients with Parkinson’s disease in the second half of 2024 and a Phase 2 trial in patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy in 2025.

About NLRP3

NLRP3 is the best understood member of a family of proteins known as inflammasomes. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that regulate the innate immune system and are involved in intracellular surveillance of danger and pathogen signals that trigger an intense inflammatory response, including the release of IL-1β and IL-18 and the induction of pyroptosis, an inflammatory form of cell death. Therapeutic inhibition of NLRP3 can prevent the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, which in turn inhibits the production of IL-1β and IL-18 as well as pyroptosis. Aberrant activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been associated with systemic conditions, including fibrotic, dermatological, and rheumatological diseases, and is a key driver of disease pathology in several neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and treatment-refractory epilepsy.

About Ventus Therapeutics

Ventus Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company deploying deep protein science expertise and a proprietary computational chemistry platform to develop novel small molecule therapeutics for immunology, inflammation, and neurology disorders. Using its proprietary drug discovery platform, ReSOLVE™, the company screened its first target in 2020, selected three development candidates in 2022, and advanced its two wholly-owned product candidates into the clinic in 2023: VENT-03, a potent, selective, oral cGAS inhibitor in Phase 1, and VENT-02, a potent, brain-penetrant, oral NLRP3 inhibitor in Phase 1. In addition, Ventus has out-licensed VENT-01, a peripherally-restricted NLRP3 inhibitor, to Novo Nordisk A/S. These programs exemplify Ventus’ robust discovery capabilities and focus on differentiated programs for multi-indication immunology and neurology targets.

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