|Product Focus :: EVK-001|
We are developing EVK-001, with promotility and anti-emetic effects, for the relief of symptoms associated with acute and recurrent diabetic gastroparesis in women with diabetes mellitus. Since its approval in 1980, oral and intravenous metoclopramide have been the only products approved in the United States to treat gastroparesis. EVK-001 is a novel formulation of metoclopramide offering systemic delivery by intranasal administration.
We are developing the intranasal formulation of metoclopramide to provide our targeted patients with acute or recurrent symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis with a product that can be systemically delivered as an alternative to the oral or intravenous routes of administration. Intranasal delivery is possible because the mucosa of the nasal cavity is single epithelial cell layer which is well vascularized and allows metoclopramide molecules to be transferred directly to the systemic circulation. There is no first pass liver metabolism required prior to onset of action. Since gastroparesis is a disease that blocks or slows the movement of the contents of the stomach to the small intestine, oral drug administration is often compromised. Unlike the oral tablet formulation of metoclopramide, we believe that EVK-001 may be tolerated even when patients are experiencing nausea and vomiting. The intranasal formulation may also provide a predictable and consistent means of delivering metoclopramide in patients with delayed gastric emptying and/or frequent vomiting.
We believe that if approved EVK-001 could also offer an alternative route of administration for female patients with severe symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis, who typically receive the intravenous formulation of metoclopramide. A nasal spray formulation of metoclopramide could offer an alternative route of administration for female patients with severe symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis receiving the parenteral formulation of metoclopramide. Following hospitalization for intravenous metoclopramide, a nasal spray formulation would also provide a non-oral option for the transition to an outpatient treatment.
Phase 2b Clinical Trial
We have evaluated EVK-001 in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group, dose-ranging Phase 2b clinical trial in 287 subjects (79% female) with diabetic gastroparesis. Subjects in the trial were between the ages of 18 and 75, with a history of diabetes (type I and type II) and diabetic gastroparesis, who had a baseline modified Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index Daily Diary, or mGCSI-DD, of > 2 and < 4 for the seven days prior to randomization on the drug or placebo.
In this trial, EVK-001 demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the most common and clinically relevant symptoms associated with gastroparesis in women, while exhibiting a favorable safety profile. EVK-001 was shown to provide a statistically significant clinical benefit as defined by a reduction in the symptoms of gastroparesis as measured by the mGCSI-DD in women (p<0.025). Male subjects treated with EVK-001 showed some improvement in gastroparesis symptoms, but did not show a statistically significant difference compared to placebo. Due to these results in men, the primary objective of statistical significance in the overall population was not achieved (p=0.15).
We believe this Phase 2b trial is the largest ever conducted in a diabetic gastroparesis population for any approved metoclopramide dosage forms (oral tablet, orally disintegrating tablet and intravenous). Previous metoclopramide studies enrolled small numbers of subjects and did not evaluate gender. Fewer than 150 subjects were enrolled across all studies included in the NDA for Reglan. While the EVK-001 Phase 2b trial is the first report of a gender-based difference in response to metoclopramide among subjects with diabetic gastroparesis, gender effects have been reported in drug studies for other GI disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. For example, products such as Lotronex® (alosetron), Zelnorm® (tegaserod) and Amitiza® (lubiprostone) were approved by FDA based on effectiveness in women, but not in men.
Phase 2b Trial Design
The Phase 2b clinical trial consisted of up to a 23-day screening period and a seven-day washout period, followed by 28 days of treatment with study drug. We evaluated two dosage strengths of EVK-001: 10 mg and 14 mg; as well as placebo. The study drug was administered for the 28-day treatment period as a single intranasal spray four times daily, 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime. Subjects recorded the severity of their gastroparesis symptoms in a telephonic diary using an interactive voice response system once each day. The symptoms were analyzed using a patient reported outcomes instrument, the Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index Daily Diary, or GCSI-DD, developed for collecting and analyzing data to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for gastroparesis.
The GCSI-DD contains nine symptoms (nausea, retching, vomiting, stomach fullness, not able to finish a normal sized meal, feeling excessively full after meal, loss of appetite, bloating, and stomach or belly visibly larger) grouped in three subscales. The daily score is calculated as a mean of three subscale means. Additional symptoms collected in the daily diary included; abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort, number of hours of nausea, number of episodes of vomiting, and overall severity of gastroparesis symptoms. In close collaboration with FDA and its Study Endpoint and Labeling Division, these additional symptom data were used to further refine the patient reported outcome instrument. The result is a mGCSI-DD comprised of four symptoms (nausea, early satiety, bloating, and upper abdominal pain) rated from zero (none) to five (very severe). The instrument has been optimized to detect symptom variability on a severity continuum from nausea to vomiting.