Bionomics expands clinical trial plan for BNC210

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Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Bionomics (ASX:BNO) has announced it will proceed with evaluating its lead clinical compound, BNC210, for the treatment of acute Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

The company said the trial, which it plans to commence by the end of this year, is part of its broader pipeline expansion strategy and is based on anti-anxiety signals in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

BNC210 is an oral proprietary selective negative allosteric modulator of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in development for the treatment of anxiety and trauma - and stressor-related disorders.

The company said that a previous in-clinic Phase 2a study in GAD patients demonstrated that single-dose administration of the liquid suspension formulation of BNC210 showed significant anti-anxiety signals as measured in brain imaging and behavioural studies, but without evidence of sedation or addictive potential.

However, it added that the slow absorption of the liquid suspension formulation of BNC210 and the requirement for it to be taken with food for optimal absorption would limit its use in real world situations for the acute treatment of anxiety.

"A new solid dose tablet formulation of BNC210 has been developed showing much improved and rapid absorption and we plan to use the tablet formulation for the Phase 2 acute treatment clinical trial in SAD patients," it said.

The Phase 2 SAD trial protocol has been developed with input from Bionomics’ clinical advisory board members and will compare BNC210 to placebo on anxiety levels using the Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) during an anxiety-provoking behavioural task following a single dose treatment with the study drug.

Drug product has already been manufactured and study start-up activities are underway. Bionomics said it anticipates approximately 15 sites in the US will be involved in the trial, recruiting around 150 patients suffering from SAD. 

"Anxiety disorders are a significant burden for our communities and approximately 18 million American adults suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder in the US alone. There is no FDA-approved, fast-acting, as-needed treatment for SAD and current standard of care FDA-approved antidepressants and off-label use of benzodiazepines have significant potential side effects and safety concerns," said executive chairman, Dr Errol De Souza.

"The new oral tablet formulation of BNC210 which is rapidly absorbed and reaches maximal concentrations in the blood in approximately 45 to 105 minutes may be well-suited for the acute treatment of SAD patients to better cope with anticipated anxiety-provoking social interactions and other public settings. We look forward to launching the SAD trial while continuing recruitment in our ongoing BNC210 Phase 2b Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ATTUNE study with the goal of reporting topline data from the trials in late 2022 and the first half of 2023, respectively.” said