Disappointment for Bionomics in PTSD trial

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Bionomics (ASX:BNO) has announced top-line data from its Phase 2 clinical trial of BNC210, a novel, first in class treatment for patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“This trial comprehensively assessed symptoms in 193 patients with PTSD across 25 sites in the US and Australia. We found that BNC210 showed excellent tolerability and safety. This adds to the safety picture for BNC210, administered for the first time over a prolonged 3-month treatment period. Although there was no overall treatment effect assessed by CAPS-5, we saw improvements on select components of the scale that are attributable to the mood and anxiety symptoms of the condition,” said Professor Paul Rolan, Bionomics’ consultant chief medical officer.

“There is great unmet medical need for safe and effective treatments for the large population of patients suffering with PTSD worldwide. While challenging to find which symptoms may respond to the novel pharmacological properties of BNC210, there was great anticipation that it would show clear beneficial effects on improving PTSD symptoms, supporting further development of the drug as a novel treatment for this condition,” said Bionomics consultant Dr Murray Stein, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego.

“Results of this trial do not demonstrate those broad benefits, underscoring the complexity of PTSD and the heterogeneity of PTSD symptoms across patients. Future work with BNC210 – and other novel compounds – may be best focused on a subset of symptoms, or a subset of patients, considered most likely to benefit.”

“We are extremely disappointed that the primary endpoint in this trial was not met," said Dr Deborah Rathjen, CEO and managing director of Bionomics.

"As we move forward we will focus on the completion of the ongoing Phase 2 trial of BNC210 in hospitalised, elderly patients suffering from agitation which is anticipated to readout in Q1, 2019. We plan to stop all other work on BNC210 until that time.

"In FY18 Bionomics reduced costs by closing the US operations and reducing overall headcount. In order to maintain and enhance shareholder value, we are continuing to assess our strategic options for partnering and portfolio prioritisation whilst conserving cash. We will provide an update on our strategic direction at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 14 November.

“Bionomics has ongoing drug discovery programs which are anticipated to deliver up to two new therapeutic candidates this financial year. We also have a strategic partnership with Merck & Co., (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), assessing a cognition therapy candidate in an ongoing Phase 1 program, which entered clinical development and triggered a US$10 million milestone payment last year.

"This deal has a potential value of up to US$506 million in terms of the upfront payments, R&D payments and milestone payments, plus additional annual royalties on net sales of licensed drugs. Both the MSD partnership
and our drug discovery programs reflect the robustness of Bionomics’ pipeline,” added Dr Rathjen.