Background: PBI-1402 is a novel orally active low molecular weight synthetic compound with erythropoiesis stimulating activity. Furthermore, a clinical phase I study showed that PBI-1402 induced a significant increase (100%, p < 0.0001, compared to placebo) of relative and absolute reticulocyte count in healthy volunteers after 21 days of oral treatment and was devoid of significant side effects.

Outcomes: The objectives of this clinical phase Ib/II trial were to study the safety and tolerability of PBI-1402 and to assess its biological efficacy on hemoglobin (Hb) level and red blood cell (RBC) count in patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia (CIA).

Methods: An open label phase Ib/II trial, monitored by a US CRO (Pharm-Olam International), was conducted in patients developing anemia after chemotherapy treatment. Three cohorts of 6 CIA patients received 8 weeks of treatment with PBI-1402 once a day, at different doses, and were monitored every two weeks for safety, tolerability, Hb level, RBC count and blood chemistry. Patients remained on their chemotherapy during PBI-1402 treatment.

Results: To date, 12 CIA patients have completed their PBI-1402 treatment. 83% of patients demonstrated a significant increase in RBC (p = 0.015) and 66% in Hb (p = 0.038). Among the responders, the mean Hb increase was 1.1 g/dL (p = 0.0007) from a baseline Hb value of 9.8 g/dL. No patient required a blood transfusion and only one patient had an Hb content below 9 g/dL (8.9 g/dL). PBI-1402 was well tolerated and no significant side effects were observed.

Conclusion: PBI-1402, via a mechanism of action distinct from erythropoietin, induced sufficient erythropoiesis to raise the RBC level and Hb in CIA patients. In addition, PBI-1402 is safe and well tolerated. PBI-1402 offers the potential for a novel therapy of the anemia of CIA.

Author notes

Disclosure:Employment: Lyne Gagnon, Jean Barabé, Christopher Penney are employees of ProMetic BioSciences Inc. Pierre Laurin is CEO of ProMetic BioSciences Inc. Ownership Interests:; Lyne Gagnon, Jean Barabé, Christopher Penney and Pierre Laurin have ownership interest (including stock options). Honoraria Information: Denis-Claude Roy, Vladimir Kovcin and Snezana Bošnjak received honoraria for their participation with the clinical trials. Membership Information: Denis-Claude Roy is on the scientific advisory committee of ProMetic BioSciences.