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Childhood Asthma: New Treatment Significantly Reduces Sever Asthma Attacks

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi today announced that the New England Journal of Medicine has published positive results from a pivotal Dupixent® (dupilumab) clinical trial in children aged 6 to 11 years with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma. These data formed the basis for the FDA approval of Dupixent on October 20, 2021 as an add-on maintenance treatment of patients aged 6 to 11 years with moderate-to-severe asthma characterized by an eosinophilic phenotype or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma.

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These published results showed Dupixent, when added to standard of care, significantly reduced severe asthma attacks and, within two weeks, rapidly improved lung function in populations with an eosinophilic phenotype, as indicated by elevated blood eosinophils, a certain type of white blood cell, and/or with elevated fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), an airway biomarker of inflammation that plays a major role in asthma.

“The publication of these Phase 3 results for Dupixent in the New England Journal of Medicine underscore their significance and potential clinical value for younger children with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma,” said Leonard B. Bacharier, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Pediatric Asthma Research, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and principal investigator of the trial. “These data also further our understanding of how addressing type 2 inflammation, a biological process that underlies most cases of childhood asthma, can potentially improve symptoms and outcomes for children suffering from this common chronic disease.”

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. Approximately 75,000 children aged 6 to 11 years live with the uncontrolled moderate-to-severe form of the disease in the U.S., and many more worldwide. Despite treatment with current standard-of-care inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators, these children may continue to experience serious symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. They also may require multiple courses of systemic corticosteroids that can carry significant safety risks.

The safety results from the trial were generally consistent with the known safety profile of Dupixent in patients aged 12 years and older with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma, with the addition of helminth infections that were reported in 2.2% of Dupixent patients and 0.7% of placebo patients. The overall rates of adverse events were 83% for Dupixent and 80% for placebo. The most common adverse events that were more commonly observed with Dupixent compared to placebo were injection site reactions (18% Dupixent, 13% placebo), viral upper respiratory tract infections (12% Dupixent, 10% placebo) and eosinophilia (6% Dupixent, 1% placebo).

Dupixent, which was invented using Regeneron’s proprietary VelocImmune® technology, is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) pathways and is not an immunosuppressant. IL-4 and IL-13 are key and central drivers of the type 2 inflammation that plays a major role in atopic dermatitis, asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP).

The results of this Phase 3 trial were also included in the European regulatory filing, and a decision from the European Medicines Agency in children with uncontrolled severe asthma is expected in Q1 2022.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.

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