enGene Announces Positive Preliminary Phase 1/2 Data with EG-70 in BCG-Unresponsive Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Alyssia Watkin Portfolio News, enGene

enGene Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering novel non-viral gene therapies for local administration into mucosal tissues enabled by its proprietary DDX platform, today announced positive results from its LEGEND study, a first-in-human Phase 1/2 clinical trial of EG-70 for the treatment of high-grade Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC) in patients with carcinoma in situ (CIS) that are BCG-unresponsive.

For over 30 years, the standard treatment for NMIBC has been BCG immunotherapy. However, the 60% disease recurrence and progression rates associated with BCG treatment have created an urgent unmet medical need for NMIBC patients who are left with very few options. Ultimately, the majority of NMIBC patients that do not respond to BCG will undergo radical cystectomy, a procedure in which the bladder is removed concurrently with other surrounding organs.

The results from LEGEND study to-date have shown that enGene’s novel intravesical monotherapy, EG-70, is safe and well tolerated, with encouraging clinical efficacy in high-grade NMIBC patients with CIS in whom BCG has failed. Of the six patients that have reached the 3-month efficacy assessment, five have achieved complete response (CR). This marks an 83% CR rate that is trending best-in-class for an intravesical monotherapy at the end of the first treatment cycle.

“The responses observed with EG-70 are an important step towards NMIBC patients avoiding radical cystectomy,” said Dr. Gary Steinberg, Professor and Director at the Perlmutter Cancer Center and Department of Urology Goldstein Urology Bladder Cancer Program of NYU Langone Health, and lead Principal Investigator for the LEGEND study. “If similar results are observed as the study progresses, I am confident that this novel intravesical monotherapy will make a meaningful impact in the lives of patients with high risk NMIBC.”

“We are thrilled to announce the safety and clinical efficacy of EG-70 in patients with BCG-unresponsive NMIBC who are facing bladder removal as an alternative,” said Jason Hanson, Chief Executive Officer at enGene. “EG-70 was designed ab initio as an intravesical monotherapy that would slot directly into current medical practice to provide ease-of-use and increased access to patients. With the initial results providing a clear best-in-class trajectory, we are confident that EG-70 will be the organ-sparing solution that is a game-changer for patients and physicians.”

Summary of Clinical Results

  • The analysis reported that 83% of patients evaluable for efficacy have achieved CR (N=6) at 3-months
  • There have been no DLTs or SAEs reported to date
  • AEs were limited to transient Grade 1 and Grade 2 Aes such as intermittent pain when urinating, urinary tract pain, bilateral serous otitis, increased nocturia, restlessness, and low back pain

The open label trial has a primary endpoint of safety and tolerability and a key secondary endpoint of CR rate at 3-months. With these initial data, the LEGEND study is slated to successfully meet both primary and secondary endpoints.

About enGene’s DDX platform – EG-70
Based on enGene’s DDX platform, EG-70 is a novel non-viral gene therapy encoding two RIG-I agonists to stimulate the innate immune system, and IL-12 to stimulate the adaptive immune system. By stimulating both arms of the immune system, intravesically administered EG-70 yields remarkable tumor regression in preclinical models of bladder cancer, with induction of effective immunological memory and minimal signs of toxicity.

About the LEGEND study
The LEGEND study, both first-in-human and first-in-class, is an open-label, monotherapy, multi-center, dose-escalation trial evaluating safety and tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and efficacy of EG-70 administered by intravesical instillation. To learn more about the first-in-human clinical trial of EG-70 in BCG-unresponsive NMIBC, please visit ClinicalTrials.gov. For additional information about the LEGEND study, please visit thelegendstudy.com.

About enGene Inc.
enGene Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing non-viral gene therapies based on localized delivery of nucleic acid payloads to mucosal tissues. The dually derived chitosan (DDX) platform has a high-degree of payload flexibility including DNA and various forms of RNA with broad tissue and disease applications. In preclinical models, enGene’s DDX technology has been demonstrated to effectively induce expression of therapeutic genes following delivery to the lung, gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder. Engene has developed scalable GMP-compliant manufacturing of DDX products. http://www.engene.com 

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