MyoKardia Acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb – UPDATED

This morning MyoKardia announced that it was being acquired by drug company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) for $13.1 billion. BMS plans to continue MyoKardia’s development of mavacamten as the first drug specifically intended to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The deal is expected to close before the end of 2020.

Last month, MyoKardia published positive results from its Stage 3 EXPLORER trial for obstructive HCM. Earlier this year, the FDA granted mavacamten breakthrough therapy designation which could shorten the FDA approval process by about 4 months. If all goes well, the drug could be available to HCM patients by the end of 2021.

The merger strengthens BMS’ cardiac offerings. Mavacamten will join Eliquis, a blood thinner that will go generic in 2026.

This is not MyoKardia’s first tie to Big Pharma. The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi invested $230 million into MyoKardia in 2014 but after their agreement expired in 2018, MyoKardia bought back the U.S. rights to its drugs for $80 million.

You can read a press release about the merger from MyoKardia here or a press release from BMS here. You can also read about it in the Wall Street Journal here.

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBEAT HAS RECEIVED UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM MYOKARDIA.  ADDITIONALLY, CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVED AS A PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE OF MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL AND IS CREDITED AS AN AUTHOR OF THE STUDY AS PUBLISHED IN THE LANCET.  CYNTHIA ALSO SERVES ON MYOKARDIA’S PATIENT ADVISORY BOARD.

MyoKardia’s EXPLORER Trial Big Success

The results of MyoKardia’s Stage 3 EXPLORER study for its experimental drug mavacamten were presented on Saturday at the European Society of Cardiology’s virtual annual meeting and contemporaneously published in The Lancet

The findings from the study showed that mavacamten improved exercise capacity, reduced left ventricular outflow tract gradient (responsible for the obstruction in HCM) and improved New York Heart Association functional class, correlating with a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. 

This was the largest placebo controlled randomized trial ever conducted in HCM. Additionally, mavacamten is the first drug specifically developed for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. All drugs previously used for HCM symptoms were developed to treat other conditions and were used “off label” to treat HCM.

According to Florence, Italy’s Dr. Iacopo Olivotto, who presented the results to ESC’s virtual audience, mavacamten was generally well tolerated and did not appear to have serious side effects.

MyoKardia said the Explorer-HCM data will form the basis of its submission to the FDA which is planned for the first quarter of 2021.  Last month, the company announced that the drug was awarded “Breakthrough Drug” designation by the FDA which it hopes will streamline the approval process.

Also, a new trial comparing mavacamten to septal myectomy and septal alcohol ablation entitled VALOR-HCM for patients with symptomatic, obstructive HCM and who are New York Heart Association Class III – IV who meet the criteria for septal reduction therapy and have been referred for such a procedure has just gotten underway with the first patient enrolled earlier this month.

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBEAT HAS RECEIVED UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM MYOKARDIA.  ADDITIONALLY, CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVED AS A PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE OF MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL and is credited as an author of the study as published in the lancet.  cynthia also serves on myokardia’s patient advisory board.

MyoKardia Announces Positive Results from EXPLORER Trial

MyoKardia today announced positive topline results for its experimental drug mavacamten from its recent Stage 3 EXPLORER trial for patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.

According to the press release, the drug met all primary and secondary endpoints, while relieving outflow tract obstruction, improving symptoms and enhancing quality of life for the patients enrolled in the trial.  Furthermore, the drug was well tolerated and appeared to be free of significant side effects.

MyoKardia plans to seek FDA approval for mavacamten, the first drug specifically targeting the underlying biological mechanism of HCM, in the first quarter of 2021.

Full results of the EXPLORER study will be presented at a scientific meeting later this year.

 

DISCLOSURES:  CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVES AS PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE OF MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL AND AS A MEMBER OF MYOKARDIA’S PATIENT ADVISORY BOARD.

 

 

More Positive Results for MyoKardia Drug

Findings from MyoKardia’s Phase 2 Maverick clinical trial of its experimental drug mavacamten in non-obstructive HCM were announced on Monday at the online 69th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Carolyn Ho of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported to online viewers that mavacamten was generally well tolerated.  In addition, the drug showed promising results in this Phase 2 trial intended to demonstrate the safety of the drug. In particular, some relevant additional observations were reductions in blood levels of two biomarkers of cardiac stress and injury – namely  NT-proBNP which indicates hemodynamic stress, and cardiac troponin I, which is a biomarker of myocardial injury.

These findings look promising for non-obstructive HCM patients who currently have very limited treatment options.

The Future of HCM Care

Dr. Stephen Heitner, together with his colleagues at Oregon Health & Sciences University, published an article last week in the European Journal of Heart Failure which gives a glimpse into the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in the future.  Although recent publications have stated that the majority of HCM patients today have a favorable prognosis when receiving appropriate treatment, a heavy disease burden continues to be placed upon patients.  Hence, better and more effective treatments for HCM are still needed in order to lessen this burden.

Continue reading “The Future of HCM Care”

Cytokinetics Announces its Phase 2 Clinical Trial – “Redwood-HCM”

Cytokinetics today announced that its Phase 2 double-blind study of its experimental drug CK-274 entitled “REDWOOD-HCM” (Randomized Evaluation of Dosing With CK-274 in Obstructive Outflow Disease in HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) has begun enrollment.  The trial will enroll patients with symptomatic, obstructive HCM.

CK-274 is a next-generation cardiac myosin inhibitor which the company hopes will prove to be beneficial for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

There are currently two companies in clinical trials for HCM:  Cytokinetics and MyoKardia. You can read more about their efforts here and here.

 

HCM Clinical Trials – the Latest News

NEWS FROM MYOKARDIA

MyoKardia recently announced a new clinical trial of its drug, mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461) which will compare the clinical results of mavacamten with septal reduction therapies currently used in clinical practice, i.e. the open heart surgical procedure known as septal myectomy and the catheter based procedure known as alcohol septal ablation.

The study will be run by the Cleveland Clinic with Dr. Milind Desai serving as principal investigator.  MyoKardia expect to begin enrolling patients in early 2020.

Read the press release here.

 

NEWS FROM CYTOKINETICS:

Cytokinetics released positive data from its Phase 1 study of the drug currently known as CK-274 in a poster session at the HFSA 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia.  The study found that CK-274 was safe and well tolerated, while no serious adverse events or negative changes to vital signs, ECGs or laboratory tests were observed.

The company will now be moving into a Phase 2 clinical trial of CK-274 in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, expected to begin in late 2019.

Read their press release here.

 

 

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBEAT HAS RECEIVED PAST UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM MYOKARDIA.  ADDITIONALLY, CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVES AS A PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL.

2 Companies Testing Drugs for HCM

Two San Francisco based companies are now conducting clinical trials for three drugs specifically targeting HCM.

Continue reading “2 Companies Testing Drugs for HCM”

Scientists Get $10 Million Grant to Develop HCM Treatments

A group of scientists led by Stanford University’s Dr. James Spudich, working together with researchers from the University of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Washington and the Institut Curie in Paris, has recently been awarded a $10 million grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop novel treatments for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). 

The researchers hope that the added resources from this grant will help them find ways to correct pathological heart protein changes they believe to be at the root of HCM. The team then plans to partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop more personalized approaches to HCM treatment.

Dr. Spudich has long been involved in HCM research and has been a founder of two separate companies which are currently engaged in drug trials for potential HCM treatments:  MyoKardia and Cytokinetics.

A story about Dr. Spudich and the inspiration for his work was featured in this recent post on HCMBeat.

Can a Smartwatch Detect HOCM?

According to a limited study recently published in Nature, researchers were able to detect obstructive HCM (HOCM) using a noninvasive optical sensor contained in many commercial smartwatches.

How the Technology Works

These watches used photoplethysmography, a noninvasive optical method used to detect blood volume changes in the microvascular bed at the skin surface.  The same technology is used in clinical pulse oximeters and is now widely incorporated in commercial smartwatches that have heart rate detection.

Continue reading “Can a Smartwatch Detect HOCM?”