Uniqure’s Huntington’s hopes take a hit

A 27% drop in Uniqure’s share price seems a little overdone, seeing as the clinical trial pause announced yesterday concerns only the high dose of the group’s Huntington’s project, AMT-130. But the reaction illustrates current scepticism around gene therapies: when something goes wrong, investors seem to fear the worst. The halt was spurred by severe adverse reactions in three patients receiving high-dose AMT-130, 6x1013, who have since “fully or substantially” recovered. The cause of the problem is unknown, but analysts suggested an immune response to the project or procedure, given the events occurred soon after administration; AMT-130 is delivered directly into deep brain structures. Low-dose AMT-130, 6x1012, is still in play, no link with serious adverse events having been found. This dose yielded promising biomarker results in June, but the big test will involve functional endpoints. Data here are due in the second quarter of 2023, when Uniqure will also report results with high-dose patients already treated in its US trial. Stifel analysts looked on the bright side, saying the high dose could still be “workable”, but that it might not be needed given the low-dose results. Less-than-convinced investors now face a nervous wait.

Selected novel approaches in Huntington's disease
Product Company Description Status/trial details
Phase 3
Pridopidine Prilenia Therapeutics Sigma-1 receptor agonist Proof-HD, topline results due Q1 2023
Phase 2
ANX005 Annexon Bioscience Complement factor C1q antibody Ph2 data reported Jun 2022
PTC518 PTC Therapeutics Small-molecule RNA splicing modulator PIVOT-HD results due end 2022
SAGE-718 Sage Therapeutics NMDA receptor regulator Surveyor & Dimension in pts with HD cognitive impairment, complete Sep & Dec 2024
Branaplam Novartis Small-molecule RNA splicing modulator Vibrant-HD completes Feb 2025
Tominersen Roche/Ionis Huntingtin antisense oligonucleotide Pivotal Generation HD1 failed; ph2 to start in younger pts with lower disease burden
Pepinemab (VX15) Vaccinex Semaphorin 4D antibody Ph2 Signal study failed in Sep 2020; Vaccinex looking for partner for ph3
Phase 1/2
AMT-130 Uniqure Gene therapy silencing huntingtin gene High-dose paused; more data from US trial & low-dose data from EU trial due 2023
WVE-003 Wave Life Sciences* Stereopure huntingtin SNP3 antisense oligonucleotide Data from Select-HD due 2022
*Takeda has option to co-develop and co-commercialise. Source: Evaluate Pharma & clinicaltrials.gov.

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