Hovione Announces Successful End-of-Phase 2 Meeting with the FDA

Hovione announced details of its planned MARS-2 and MARS-3 (Minocycline Against Rosacea Study) Phase 3 development program for the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory rosacea. At a recent End-of-Phase 2 meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Hovione received guidance for the design and clinical endpoints for HY01, topical minocycline gel 3%.

Based on the review of the Phase 2 clinical trial which enrolled 270 subjects across 3 treatment arms (HY01 Gel, 1%, HY01 Gel, 3%, and vehicle), FDA has supported advancement to Phase 3. The two, US based, pivotal studies will enroll 750 subjects each with the primary endpoints of absolute reduction in inflammatory lesions at week 12 compared to baseline and the achievement of “clear” or “almost clear” and a 2-grade reduction on the Investigator Global Assessment.  Additionally, Hovione will complete a maximal use study in subjects with papulopustular rosacea.  Assuming replication of the clinically significant improvements in subjects with moderate to severe papulopustular rosacea observed in Phase 2, Minocycline Topical Gel may offer a safer alternative to modified-release doxycycline, which is the only tetracycline approved for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. If approved, Minocycline Topical Gel will provide an important alternative treatment option targeted to the site of action and as thus avoiding the systemic side effects of oral doxycycline.

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Hovione’s topical minocycline is the only program under development that uses a proprietary, crystalline form of the drug as minocycline base, conferring differentiated properties of potentially lower skin irritability based on its lower acidity and superior stability, as compared to its generic alternative. Hovione has secured patents for both the drug substance and the drug product globally with exclusivity through 2033. Hovione’s topical minocycline uses a novel proprietary excipient that reduces Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and provides a moisturizing, skin-barrier effect, potentially conferring relief to dry cracked skin of some rosacea patients.  Minocycline is proven to have a potent anti-inflammatory effect, potentially superior to other tetracyclines.

“Approximately two-thirds of oral antibiotic prescriptions written by dermatologists are for doxycycline and minocycline for either acne or rosacea,” Guy Webster, M.D. Ph.D., dermatologist at the Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine of Thomas Jefferson University said. “Both compounds are only available for oral delivery and carry a risk of side effects. Hovione’s topical minocycline has a systemic exposure 1000 times lower than oral minocycline and provides a topical alternative with a moisturizing formulation. “

Hovione anticipates initiating the Phase 3 trial subject to entering into a strategic collaboration with a commercial partner, by fourth quarter of 2019, aiming at filing the NDA during 2021.

Papulopustular Rosacea (PPR) is a chronic facial skin disease presenting most commonly in adulthood, with an estimated 16 million patients in the United States. PPR is characterized by inflammatory lesions (papules, pustules) on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead.  PPR has been shown to have a negative impact on quality of life. Surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society have shown that approximately 70% of rosacea patients experience lower self-confidence and lower self-esteem. Forty-one percent stated they avoid public contact and cancel social engagements during an exacerbation.

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