Monthly Archives: June 2015

OsteoGeneX is Developing a Sclerostin Inhibitor Too

Wnt modulators in the biotech pipeline.

Rey JP, Ellies DL
Dev. Dyn. Jan 2010
PMID: 20014100 | Free Full Text

A more favorable approach to the modulation of the Wnt pathway has been to focus on extracellular mediators of the pathway. Where, Amgen is the first in class to develop a biologic therapeutic against Sclerostin (Human Clinical Phase II). Nuvelo is following Amgen with biologics against LRP5, Dkk1, and R-Spondin (Discovery). Second in class for Sclerostin blocking antibodies will be Novartis and Eli Lilly (Preclinical). Fibrogen, who is taking a different approach, has developed a biologic against CCN family member CTGF (Preclinical). As for small molecules, OsteoGeneX is first in class to develop a Sclerostin small molecule inhibitor, currently in preclinical and lead optimization. Alternatively to Sclerostin, Galapagos is developing small molecule leads against LRP5 in a partnership with Eli-Lilly (Discovery).

Sclerostin Inhibitor Increases Bone Strength More than the Controls in Rats


Sclerostin antibody treatment increases bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength in a rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

The development of bone-rebuilding anabolic agents for potential use in the treatment of bone loss conditions, such as osteoporosis, has been a long-standing goal. Genetic studies in humans and mice have shown that the secreted protein sclerostin is a key negative regulator of bone formation, although the magnitude and extent of sclerostin’s role in the control of bone formation in the aging skeleton is still unclear. To study this unexplored area of sclerostin biology and to assess the pharmacologic effects of sclerostin inhibition, we used a cell culture model of bone formation to identify a sclerostin neutralizing monoclonal antibody (Scl-AbII) for testing in an aged ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Six-month-old female rats were ovariectomized and left untreated for 1 yr to allow for significant estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss, at which point Scl-AbII was administered for 5 wk. Scl-AbII treatment in these animals had robust anabolic effects, with marked increases in bone formation on trabecular, periosteal, endocortical, and intracortical surfaces. This not only resulted in complete reversal, at several skeletal sites, of the 1 yr of estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss, but also further increased bone mass and bone strength to levels greater than those found in non-ovariectomized control rats. Taken together, these preclinical results establish sclerostin’s role as a pivotal negative regulator of bone formation in the aging skeleton and, furthermore, suggest that antibody-mediated inhibition of sclerostin represents a promising new therapeutic approach for the anabolic treatment of bone-related disorders, such as postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Li X, Ominsky MS, Warmington KS, Morony S…
J. Bone Miner. Res. Apr 2009
PMID: 19049336

Sclerostin Inhibitor Increases Bone Formation, Density, and Strength in Monkeys


Two doses of sclerostin antibody in cynomolgus monkeys increases bone formation, bone mineral density, and bone strength.

The development of bone-rebuilding anabolic agents for treating bone-related conditions has been a long-standing goal. Genetic studies in humans and mice have shown that the secreted protein sclerostin is a key negative regulator of bone formation. More recently, administration of sclerostin-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies in rodent studies has shown that pharmacologic inhibition of sclerostin results in increased bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength. To explore the effects of sclerostin inhibition in primates, we administered a humanized sclerostin-neutralizing monoclonal antibody (Scl-AbIV) to gonad-intact female cynomolgus monkeys. Two once-monthly subcutaneous injections of I were administered at three dose levels (3, 10, and 30 mg/kg), with study termination at 2 months. Scl-AbIV treatment had clear anabolic effects, with marked dose-dependent increases in bone formation on trabecular, periosteal, endocortical, and intracortical surfaces. Bone densitometry showed that the increases in bone formation with Scl-AbIV treatment resulted in significant increases in bone mineral content (BMC) and/or bone mineral density (BMD) at several skeletal sites (ie, femoral neck, radial metaphysis, and tibial metaphysis). These increases, expressed as percent changes from baseline were 11 to 29 percentage points higher than those found in the vehicle-treated group. Additionally, significant increases in trabecular thickness and bone strength were found at the lumbar vertebrae in the highest-dose group. Taken together, the marked bone-building effects achieved in this short-term monkey study suggest that sclerostin inhibition represents a promising new therapeutic approach for medical conditions where increases in bone formation might be desirable, such as in fracture healing and osteoporosis.

Ominsky MS, Vlasseros F, Jolette J, Smith SY…
J. Bone Miner. Res. May 2010
PMID: 20200929

Romosozumab Phase I Trial Increased Bone Density


Single-dose, placebo-controlled, randomized study of AMG 785, a sclerostin monoclonal antibody.

Sclerostin, an osteocyte-secreted protein, negatively regulates osteoblasts and inhibits bone formation. In this first-in-human study, a sclerostin monoclonal antibody (AMG 785) was administered to healthy men and postmenopausal women. In this phase I, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, ascending, single-dose study, 72 healthy subjects received AMG 785 or placebo (3:1) subcutaneously (0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 5, or 10 mg/kg) or intravenously (1 or 5 mg/kg). Depending on dose, subjects were followed for up to 85 days. The effects of AMG 785 on safety and tolerability (primary objectives) and pharmacokinetics, bone turnover markers, and bone mineral density (secondary objectives) were evaluated. AMG 785 generally was well tolerated. One treatment-related serious adverse event of nonspecific hepatitis was reported and was resolved. No deaths or study discontinuations occurred. AMG 785 pharmacokinetics were nonlinear with dose. Dose-related increases in the bone-formation markers procollagen type 1 N-propeptide (P1NP), bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and osteocalcin were observed, along with a dose-related decrease in the bone-resorption marker serum C-telopeptide (sCTx), resulting in a large anabolic window. In addition, statistically significant increases in bone mineral density of up to 5.3% at the lumbar spine and 2.8% at the total hip compared with placebo were observed on day 85. Six subjects in the higher-dose groups developed anti-AMG 785 antibodies, 2 of which were neutralizing, with no discernible effect on the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics. In summary, single doses of AMG 785 generally were well tolerated, and the data support further clinical investigation of sclerostin inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for conditions that could benefit from increased bone formation.

Padhi D, Jang G, Stouch B, Fang L…
J. Bone Miner. Res. Jan 2011
PMID: 20593411

Blosozumab Phase 2 Trial Increased Bone Density


A randomized, double-blind phase 2 clinical trial of blosozumab, a sclerostin antibody, in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density.

Sclerostin, a SOST protein secreted by osteocytes, negatively regulates formation of mineralized bone matrix and bone mass. We report the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter phase 2 clinical trial of blosozumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeted against sclerostin, in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density (BMD). Postmenopausal women with a lumbar spine T-score -2.0 to -3.5, inclusive, were randomized to subcutaneous blosozumab 180 mg every 4 weeks (Q4W), 180 mg every 2 weeks (Q2W), 270 mg Q2W, or matching placebo for 1 year, with calcium and vitamin D. Serial measurements of spine and hip BMD and biochemical markers of bone turnover were performed. Overall, 120 women were enrolled in the study (mean age 65.8 years, mean lumbar spine T-score -2.8). Blosozumab treatment resulted in statistically significant dose-related increases in spine, femoral neck, and total hip BMD as compared with placebo. In the highest dose group, BMD increases from baseline reached 17.7% at the spine, and 6.2% at the total hip. Biochemical markers of bone formation increased rapidly during blosozumab treatment, and trended toward pretreatment levels by study end. However, bone specific alkaline phosphatase remained higher than placebo at study end in the highest-dose group. CTx, a biochemical marker of bone resorption, decreased early in blosozumab treatment to a concentration less than that of the placebo group by 2 weeks, and remained reduced throughout blosozumab treatment. Mild injection site reactions were reported more frequently with blosozumab than placebo. In conclusion, treatment of postmenopausal women with an antibody targeted against sclerostin resulted in substantial increases in spine and hip BMD. These results support further study of blosozumab as a potential anabolic therapy for osteoporosis.

Recker RR, Benson CT, Matsumoto T, Bolognese MA…
J. Bone Miner. Res. Feb 2015
PMID: 25196993 | Free Full Text

Blosozumab: Eli Lilly’s New Sclerostin Inhibitor

Blosozumab is a new sclerostin inhibitor developed by Eli Lilly. According to Wikipedia:

Phase II trial of a monoclonal human antibody to sclerostin from Eli Lilly had positive effects on post-menopausal women. Monthly treatments of the antibody for one year increased the bone mineral density of the spine and hip by 18 percent and 6 percent, respectively, compared to the placebo group.

Romosozumab: Amgen’s New Sclerostin Inhibitor

Romosozumab is a new Sclerostin Inhibitor from Amgen. Specifically it is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets sclerostin for the treatment of osteoporosis. According to Wikipedia:

Its use has increased bone growth in preclinical trials in osteoporotic rats and monkeys. In a Phase I study, a single dose of anti-sclerostin antibody from Amgen (Romosozumab) increased bone density in the hip and spine in healthy men and postmenopausal women and the drug was well tolerated. In a Phase II trial, one year of the antibody treatment in osteoporotic women increased bone density more than bisphosphonate and teriparatide treatment….

The Amgen drug is expected to be on the market in 2017 and is predicted to be the gold standard in osteoporosis treatment by 2021.

Review: Sclerostin Inhibition: A New Approach


Sclerostin inhibition: a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures are growing problems with the aging population and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. At this time, other than parathyroid hormone analogs, all therapies for osteoporosis are antiresorptive. Therefore, researchers have focused efforts on development of more anabolic therapies. Understanding of the Wnt signaling pathway, which is critical for skeletal development, and the role of sclerostin in inhibition of Wnt signaling has led to the discovery of a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of osteoporosis – sclerostin inhibition. In this review, we discuss the biology of Wnt signaling and sclerostin inhibition. We then discuss human disorders of decreased sclerostin function and animal models of sclerostin inhibition. Both have served to elucidate the effects of decreased sclerostin levels and function – increased bone mass and strength and fewer fractures. In addition, we review data from Phase I and II studies of the two humanized sclerostin monoclonal antibodies, romosozumab and blosozumab, both of which have had positive effects on bone mineral density. We conclude with a discussion of the ongoing Phase III studies of romosozumab. The available data support the potential for neutralizing sclerostin monoclonal antibodies to serve as anabolic agents in the treatment of osteoporosis.

Shah AD, Shoback D, Lewiecki EM
Int J Womens Health 2015
PMID: 26082665

Bone Density and Arterial Stiffness Connection


Association of age-dependent height and bone mineral density decline with increased arterial stiffness and rate of fractures in hypertensive individuals.

Hypertension and osteoporosis are age-related health risks differentially expressed in men and women. Here we have analysed their prevalence in a randomly selected cross-sectional cohort [CARTaGENE (CaG) of Quebec, Canada and explored their existing relationships along with height, arterial stiffness and bone fractures.
The principal cohort CaG included 20 007 individuals of age 40-70 years. Participants were subjected to an extensive phenotyping and a questionnaire of medical history and habits.
We determined the differences in height of participants and their relation to hypertension status and sex in this cohort and validated it in two other cohorts (The Canadian Heart Health Study and a family cohort from the Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean, a region of Quebec). In all three cohorts, we found that at younger age individuals with hypertension are taller than normotensive individuals, but they have a shorter stature at an older age compared with normotensive individuals. In CaG, we observed that hypertension, low bone mineral density (BMD) and arterial stiffness are strongly associated with height when adjusted for antihypertensive medications (P < 0.0001). Fractures are the net outcome of low BMD, and a significant association is observed (odds ratio = 2.34, confidence interval = 2.12-2.57); this relation was stronger in hypertensive individuals compared with normotensive individuals particularly in younger hypertensive individuals. In addition, we observed that increased arterial stiffness was significantly correlated with a low BMD in both men and women at all ages.
Shorter stature in elderly, low BMD and fractures correlated with increased arterial stiffness and hypertension. We propose that hypertension and osteoporosis rere components of accelerated aging.

El-Bikai R, Tahir MR, Tremblay J, Joffres M…
J. Hypertens. Apr 2015
PMID: 25915877

Bone Density and Arterial Stiffness Again


Low bone mineral density is associated with increased arterial stiffness in participants of a health records based study.

Many epidemiological studies have shown that low bone mineral density (BMD) and atherosclerosis appear to be related. However, their precise correlation is not completely understood after full adjustment the shared confounders of atherosclerosis and bone metabolism. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between BMD and subclinical atherosclerosis in a healthy Chinese population and the difference in gender.
The study population consisted of 2,487 subjects (1,467 men, 1,020 women) who participated in health check-up programs and were selected to be free of major diseases which might affect atherosclerosis and bone metabolism. Bone status was assessed by BMD in lumbar spine. The brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) was assessed as a functional marker of atherosclerosis. The ankle-brachial index (ABI), carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGRF) and microalbuminuria were evaluated as indexes of structural markers of atherosclerosis.
After adjustment for risk factors, significant association was shown between baPWV and BMD in both genders (male: r=-0.084, P=0.035; female: r=-0.088, P=0.014). The correlation was stronger in females than in males, and in females, the correlation was stronger after menopause. Similarly, mean baPWV differed significantly according to the decreased BMD (normal BMD, Osteopenia, Osteoporosis). In contrast, no significant differences were observed for ABI, CIMT, eGFR or microalbuminuria with BMD.
Independent of confounding factors, low BMD is associated with the functional marker of subclinical atherosclerosis (increased baPWV), but not with structural markers (ABI, CIMT, eGFR or microalbuminuria) among healthy females and males.

Wang YQ, Yang PT, Yuan H, Cao X…
J Thorac Dis May 2015
PMID: 26101634 | Free Full Text

From the full text discussion:

There are several potential mechanisms to explain this link. Both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis share similar or common risk factors. Bone-associated matrix proteins, homocysteine, high levels of OPG, inflammatory mediators, estrogen and vitamin D deficiency all play an important role both in bone metabolism and in the development of atherosclerosis (32).