Largest studies in POMC and LEPR deficiency obesities demonstrate that treatment with setmelanotide reduced body weight and hunger
BOSTON, Oct. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:RYTM), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company aimed at developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity, announced today that results from two pivotal Phase 3 studies evaluating setmelanotide in proopiomelanocortin (POMC) deficiency obesity and leptin receptor (LEPR) deficiency obesity were published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. As previously reported, data from the studies demonstrate that treatment with setmelanotide, the company’s melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist, led to statistically significant and clinically meaningful reductions of weight and hunger.
“Results from Rhythm’s pivotal Phase 3 studies, which are the largest studies to date in POMC and LEPR deficiency obesities, provide evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of setmelanotide and we believe they validate its potential long-term use as a novel treatment for severe obesity and hyperphagia,” said co-author Peter Kühnen, M.D., Institute for Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. “It is important to recognize the signs of these rare genetic disorders because we may soon have a targeted treatment option available for the first time for obesity disorders caused by impairments of the MC4R pathway.”
Rhythm initially reported positive topline data from the Phase 3 studies in August 2019 and subsequently presented updated data in a late-breaking research forum during the 37th Annual Meeting of The Obesity Society at ObesityWeek® 2019.
Eight of 10 participants with POMC deficiency obesity (80%; P<0.0001 compared with historical data) and five of 11 participants with LEPR deficiency obesity (45%; P=0.0001 compared with historical data) achieved at least 10 percent weight loss at approximately one year. The mean percent change in “most hunger” score in participants aged 12 years and older was -27.1 percent (n=7; P=0.0005) in POMC deficiency obesity and -43.7 percent (n=7; P<0.0001) in LEPR deficiency obesity. Consistent with prior clinical experience, setmelanotide was generally well-tolerated in both trials. The most common adverse events were injection site reaction, skin hyperpigmentation, and nausea.
“These results are significant because, as we know from natural history data, individuals living with POMC or LEPR deficiency obesity consistently experience substantial weight gain each year beginning in early childhood, and we would not expect any of these patients to be able to achieve 10 percent weight loss over the course of a year without continued treatment,” said co-author Karine Clément, professor of nutrition at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital and Sorbonne University in Paris. “These data and the significant unmet need to address the obesity and hyperphagia caused by rare genetic disorders of obesity underscore the importance of testing for genetic variants that may impair MC4R activation and lead to severe obesity.”
In May 2020, Rhythm announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted the company’s New Drug Application (NDA) for setmelanotide for the treatment of POMC deficiency obesity and LEPR deficiency obesity, granted Priority Review of the NDA and assigned a Prescription Drug