VX-445 (ELEXACAFTOR)/TEZACAFTOR/IVACAFTOR    [TRIKAFTA]

2018 Keating DMarigowda GBurr LDaines CMall MAMcKone EFRamsey BWRowe SMSass LATullis EMcKee CMMoskowitz SMRobertson SSavage JSimard CVan Goor FWaltz DXuan FYoung TTaylor-Cousar JLVX16-445-001 Study Group.  VX-445-Tezacaftor-Ivacaftor in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis and One or Two Phe508del Alleles  N Engl J Med. 2018 Oct 25;379(17):1612-1620. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1807120. Epub  2018 Oct 18. [Pubmed]

Dominic Keating

VX-445 is a next-generation cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) corrector designed to restore Phe508del CFTR protein function in patients with cystic fibrosis when administered with tezacaftor and ivacaftor (VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor).                                                     The authors evaluated the effects of VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor on Phe508del CFTR protein processing, trafficking, and chloride transport in human bronchial epithelial cells. On the basis of in vitro activity, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial was conducted to evaluate oral VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor in patients heterozygous for the Phe508del CFTR mutation and a minimal-function mutation (Phe508del-MF) and in patients homozygous for the Phe508del CFTR mutation (Phe508del-Phe508del) after tezacaftor-ivacaftor run-in. Primary end points were safety and absolute change in percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) from baseline.

Results. In vitro, VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor significantly improved Phe508del CFTR protein processing, trafficking, and chloride transport to a greater extent than any two of these agents in dual combination.   In patients with cystic fibrosis, VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor had an acceptable safety and side-effect profile. Most adverse events were mild or moderate. The treatment also resulted in an increased percentage of predicted FEV1 of up to 13.8 points in the Phe508del-MF group (P<0.001). In patients in the Phe508del-Phe508del group, who were already receiving tezacaftor-ivacaftor, the addition of VX-445 resulted in an 11.0-point increase in the percentage of predicted FEV1 (P<0.001). In both groups, there was a decrease in sweat chloride concentrations and improvement in the respiratory domain score on the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire-Revised.

The authors concluded the use of VX-445-tezacaftor-ivacaftor to target Phe508del CFTR protein resulted in increased CFTR function in vitro and translated to improvements in patients with cystic fibrosis with one or two Phe508del alleles. This approach has the potential to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis in approximately 90% of patients.     (Clinical trials NCT03227471 ; and EudraCT number, 2017-000797-11)

Dominic T Keating is Respiratory Physician at the Alfred Hospital · Department of Allergy, Immunology & Respiratory Medicine (AIRmed)  Australia, Melbourne

From the Gene Medicine group medical division of clinical laboratory science, Radcliffe Department of Medicine , University of Oxford , Oxford

Stephen Hyde and Deborah Gill are two of the original members of the UK Gene Therapy Consortium formed in 2001 and are co-directors of the Gene Medicine Research Group in Oxford. Stephen Hyde is now Associate Professor of Molecular Therapy and Deborah Gill is Professor of Gene Medicine at Oxford. On both their Radcliffe Department of Medicine website entries there is a concise summary of the development in gene therapy in the UK and their respective roles in it.

Middleton PG,  Mall MA, Drevinek P, Lands LC, McKone EF, Polineni D, Ramsay BW, Taylor0Cousar JL, Tullis E, Vermeulen F, marifwada G, Mosowski SM, Nair N, Savage J, Simard C, Tian S, Waltz D, Xuan F, Jain Rassha for the VX17-445-i102 Study Group.  Elexacaftor-tezacaftor-iavacaftor for cystic fibrosis with a single The 508del allele. N Eng J Med 2019; 381:1809-19. [Pubmed]

             Peter Middleton

Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, and nearly 90% of patients have at least one copy of the Phe508del CFTR mutation. In a phase 2 trial involving patients who were heterozygous for the Phe508del CFTR mutation and a minimal- function mutation (Phe508del–minimal function genotype), the next-generation CFTR corrector elexacaftor, in combination with tezacaftor and ivacaftor, improved Phe508del CFTR function and clinical outcomes. 

The authors conducted a phase 3, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to confirm the efficacy and safety of elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor in patients 12 years of age or older with cystic fibrosis with Phe508del–minimal function geno- types. Patients were randomly assigned to receive elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor or placebo for 24 weeks. The primary end point was absolute change from baseline in percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) at week 4. 

A total of 403 patients underwent randomisation and received at least one dose of active treatment or placebo. Elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor, relative to placebo, resulted in a percentage of predicted FEV1 that was 13.8 points higher at 4 weeks and 14.3 points higher through 24 weeks, a rate of pulmonary exacerbations that was 63% lower, a respiratory domain score on the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire– Revised (range, 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a higher patient-reported quality of life with regard to respiratory symptoms; minimum clinically important difference, 4 points) that was 20.2 points higher, and a sweat chloride concentration that was 41.8 mmol per litre lower (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Elexacaftor– tezacaftor–ivacaftor was generally safe and had an acceptable side-effect profile. Most patients had adverse events that were mild or moderate. Adverse events leading to discontinuation of the trial regimen occurred in 1% of the patients in the elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor group.

Conclusion – Elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor was efficacious in patients with cystic fibrosis with Phe508del–minimal function genotypes, in whom previous CFTR modulator regimens were ineffective. (VX17-445-102 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03525444.) 

Professor Peter Middleton is Clinical Professor of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Westmead  Hospital and CF Research Group, Ludwig Engel Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Sydney.

Heijerman HGM, McKone EF, Downey DG, Van Braeckel E, Rowe SM, Tullis E Mall MA, Welter JJ, Ramsey BW, McKee CM, Marigowda G, Moskowitz SM, Waltz D, Sosnay PR, Simard C, Ahluwalia N, Xuan F, Zhang Y, Taylor-Cousar JL, McCoy KS; VX17-445-103 Trial Group.  Efficacy and safety of the elexacaftor plus tezacaftor plus ivacaftor combination regimen in people with cystic fibrosis homozygous for the F508del mutation: a double-blind, randomised, phase 3 trial.   Collaborators (45).  Lancet. 2019 Oct 30. pii: S0140-6736(19)32597-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32597-8. [Epub ahead of print]  Full copy available  [Pubmed]

           Harry Heijerman

Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators correct the basic defect caused by CFTR mutations. Improvements in health outcomes have been achieved with the combination of a CFTR corrector and potentiator in people with cystic fibrosis homozygous for the F508del mutation. The addition of elexacaftor (VX-445), a next-generation CFTR corrector, to tezacaftor plus ivacaftor further improved F508del-CFTR function and clinical outcomes in a phase 2 study in people with cystic fibrosis homozygous for the F508del mutation.

This phase 3, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, active-controlled trial of elexacaftor in combination with tezacaftor plus ivacaftor was done at 44 sites in four countries. Eligible participants were those with cystic fibrosis homozygous for the F508del mutation, aged 12 years or older with stable disease, and with a percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (ppFEV1) of 40-90%, inclusive. After a 4-week tezacaftor plus ivacaftor run-in period, participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to 4 weeks of elexacaftor 200 mg orally once daily plus tezacaftor 100 mg orally once daily plus ivacaftor 150 mg orally every 12 h versus tezacaftor 100 mg orally once daily plus ivacaftor 150 mg orally every 12 h alone. The primary outcome was the absolute change from baseline (measured at the end of the tezacaftor plus ivacaftor run-in) in ppFEV1 at week 4. Key secondary outcomes were absolute change in sweat chloride and Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire-Revised respiratory domain (CFQ-R RD) score. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03525548.

Between Aug 3 and Dec 28, 2018, 113 participants were enrolled. Following the run-in, 107 participants were randomly assigned (55 in the elexacaftor plus tezacaftor plus ivacaftor group and 52 in the tezacaftor plus ivacaftor group) and completed the 4-week treatment period. The elexacaftor plus tezacaftor plus ivacaftor group had improvements in the primary outcome of ppFEV1 (least squares mean [LSM] treatment difference of 10·0 percentage points [95% CI 7·4 to 12·6], p<0·0001) and the key secondary outcomes of sweat chloride concentration (LSM treatment difference -45·1 mmol/L [95% CI -50·1 to -40·1], p<0·0001), and CFQ-R RD score (LSM treatment difference 17·4 points [95% CI 11·8 to 23·0], p<0·0001) compared with the tezacaftor plus ivacaftor group. The triple combination regimen was well tolerated, with no discontinuations. Most adverse events were mild or moderate; serious adverse events occurred in two (4%) participants receiving elexacaftor plus tezacaftor plus ivacaftor and in one (2%) receiving tezacaftor plus ivacaftor.

The authors concluded Elexacaftor plus tezacaftor plus ivacaftor provided clinically robust benefit compared with tezacaftor plus ivacaftor alone, with a favourable safety profile, and shows the potential to lead to transformative improvements in the lives of people with cystic fibrosis who are homozygous for the F508del mutation.

Dr Harry Heijerman is at the Department of Pulmonology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Hoy SM. Elexacaftor/Ivacaftor/Tezacaftor: First Approval.  Drugs. 2019 Nov 29. doi: 10.1007/s40265-019-01233-7. [Epub ahead of print]Author information.[Pubmed]
A fixed-dose combination tablet of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) corrector tezacaftor and the CFTR potentiator ivacaftor with the next-generation CFTR corrector elexacaftor (hereafter referred to as elexacaftor/ivacaftor/tezacaftor) [Trikafta™] has been developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. to treat patients with the most common cystic fibrosis mutation (F508del). Its use has been associated with statistically significant and/or clinically meaningful improvements in lung function and respiratory-related quality of life compared with comparator regimens (placebo or ivacaftor/tezacaftor) in multinational phase II and III studies, and in October 2019 elexacaftor/ivacaftor/tezacaftor was approved by the US FDA for the treatment of cystic fibrosis in patients aged ≥ 12 years who have ≥ 1 F508del mutation in the CFTR gene. A regulatory assessment for elexacaftor/ivacaftor/tezacaftor as a treatment for cystic fibrosis is underway in the EU. This article summarises the milestones in the development of elexacaftor/ivacaftor/tezacaftor leading to this first approval for the treatment of cystic fibrosis in patients aged ≥ 12 years who have ≥ 1 F508del mutation in the CFTR gene.

Dr S M Hoy is at Springer Nature, Private Bag 65901, Mairangi Bay, Auckland

New Drug Hailed as Major Breakthrough in Cystic Fibrosis. Am J Med Genet A. 2020 Jan;182(1):8-9. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.61420.[Pubmed] My summary as their is no abstract:  No authors are listed for this neat account of the progress in the development of CFTR modulator therapy from the FDA approval of ivacaftor (VX-771) in January 2012 for patients with one copy of the G551D mutation, to Orkambi, the combination of lumacaftor (VX-809) and ivacaftor, for those with 2 copies of the F508del mutation in 2015, to another drug combination of tezacaftor (VX-661) and ivacaftor (Symdeko) in 2018 for those people with at least one F508del mutation.

In 2019 the combination drug Trikafta, combining elexacaftor (VX-445), ivacaftor (Kalydeco) and tezacaftor (VX-661), was approved for patients aged 12 years and over with at least one F508del – a group comprising some 90% of the CF population. Approval was based on two phase III clinical trials (Middleton et al, 2019; Heijerman et al, 2019).  Sadly these drugs are very expensive and funding is and will remain a major problem.

DiMango E, Overdevest J, Keating C, Francis SF, Dansky D, Gudis D.  Effect of highly effective modulator treatment on sinonasal symptoms in cysticfibrosis.  J Cyst Fibros. 2020 Jul 18:S1569-1993(20)30794-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2020.07.002. Online ahead of print. [Pubmed]

Emily DiMango

Elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor is a highly effective modulator for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients homozygous or heterozygous for F508del. Effects of the drug on sinonasal symptoms have not been studied    Adult participants were prospectively evaluated at baseline and after three months of treatment using validated questionnaires assessing sinonasal symptoms (SNOT-22) and CF-related quality of life (CFQ-R).
Results: Forty-three participants completed the study; 23 were taking other CF transmembrane conductance (CFTR) modulators at the time of study participation. There was a significant improvement in mean SNOT-22 from 34.8 (29.4-40, 95% confidence interval) to 24.4 (19.9-29.0) (p = 0.000003) and in the Respiratory domain of the CFQR from 60.6 (57.1-64.1) to 83.3 (79.4-87.2) (p = 0.0000002), both achieving a minimal clinically important difference. Patients previously taking CFTR modulators experienced a greater benefit in sinonasal and respiratory symptoms.

Conclusions: Elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor is associated with significant improvement in sinonasal symptoms; previous use of CFTR modulators is associated with greater benefit

Dr Emily DiMango is Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center; Director, John Edsall-John Wood Asthma Center; Director, Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program