Astrazeneca not deterred when COPD drug fails to meet primary endpoints
- Astrazeneca evaluated benralizumab in 101 adults with moderate-to-severe COPD who had experienced at least one exacerbation that required intervention.
- Patients were also selected on the basis of eosinophils, a type of white blood cells present in sputum. Eosinophil airway inflammation affects 20% to 30% of patients with COPD.
- Although there was a higher incidence of serious treatment-emergent adverse events in the benralizumab-treated group compared with the placebo group, benralizumab demonstrated significant improvement in lung function in the overall treatment population.
Outcomes of the phase IIa trial of benralizumab were inconsistent. The tolerability data was not good; However, the ability to treat a targeted population (benralizumab-treated patients with baseline blood eosinophil concentrations of 200 to 300 cells per microliter or more) was seen as a positive outcome. In addition, the data showed that benralizumab resulted in non-significant but numerical improvements in acute exacerbations; forced expiratory volume in one second; and overall health. Astrazeneca plans to continue clinical trials.