Cova322 is a bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor. Is this a new hype? Or are we going to see a change of view on combining biologics? To my knowledge there is no biologic agent, where a combination with another biologic agent is advocated. Some people combine biologics with denosumab, so the principle isn’t that new, but let’s say it isn’t accepted on a large scale. There had been studies combining anakinra and etanercept or abatacept and a TNF-alpha-inbibitor, so that remicade for instance dicidedly warns to be combined with other biologic agents. On the other hand we have ustekinumab, which is a monoclonal antibody against interleukins 12 and 23.
W. Lemke and colleagues presented the following paper [#1511]: “COVA322: A Clinical Stage Bispecific TNF/IL-17A Inhibitor for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases.” “COVA322 was analyzed for its cross-reactivity in a GLP study with human and Cynomolgus tissues.” In “results” we’re told: “COVA322 showed no unexpected tissue cross-reactivity and no indication for the potential to cause a cytokine release syndrome.” Conclusions: “COVA322 is a unique bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor, which was well tolerated in non-clinical safety studies. The non-clinical data package supports the planned dose range for the currently ongoing first in man, single dose escalation, tolerability, safety, PK and efficacy Phase Ib/IIa study in psoriasis.” It isn‘t a conclusion that COVA322 is a unique bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor, that’s marketing! The only conclusions I see are cell studies, mouse arthritis model studies and tests in Cynomolgus monkeys hadn’t raised safety concerns.
There is another study by D. Grabulovski and colleagues [#1491]: “Discovery and Characterization of COVA322, a Clinical Stage Bispecific TNF/IL-17A Inhibitor for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases.” I recomment to read the whole text as methods and results are really interesting to read. Conclusion: “COVA322 is a unique bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor with excellent biophysical properties. It is currently being tested in a first in man, single dose escalation, tolerability, safety, PK and efficacy Phase Ib/IIa study in psoriasis.” Too much marketing!
Let’s sum it up. Cova322 is a bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor. It is a promising new agent, which could result in a new drug. It might be working in (at least) psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. And maybe it will help us to find a safe way to combining biologic agents. Godspeed COVA322!
Link to ACR Abstracts: