Furiex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (FURX) has announced top-line results indicating the company’s two pivotal Phase III clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of eluxadoline in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-d) met both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) formally agreed-upon primary endpoints of composite response based on simultaneous improvements in stool consistency and abdominal pain. These endpoints are aligned with both the current FDA guidance and the 2013 EMA draft guidance for clinical trial evaluation of new medicines for irritable bowel syndrome. 

“I am very pleased with the strength of the data, and proud of our team for its hard work and excellent development of eluxadoline,” said Fred Eshelman, founding chairman of Furiex. “In just under four years, working closely with regulatory authorities, the team has completed nine Phase I studies, a Phase II dose-ranging trial in approximately 800 patients, and these two large Phase III trials. Additionally, we have completed all toxicology studies and believe we are on schedule, including chemistry and manufacturing work, for an NDA submission by the end of the second quarter of 2014.” 

The studies, known as 3001 and 3002, were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in which patients received eluxadoline, 75 mg twice-daily (BID), eluxadoline 100 mg BID or placebo BID. A total of 2,428 subjects were enrolled across the two studies. The primary efficacy endpoint was a composite response evaluated over the initial 12 weeks of double-blind treatment for FDA evaluation, and over the 26 weeks of double-blind treatment for EMA evaluation. Response rates were compared based on patients who met the daily composite response criteria (improvement in pain and stool consistency) for at least 50% of the days from weeks 1 to 12 and weeks 1 to 26. A patient must have met both of the following criteria on any given day to be a daily responder: 

Daily stool consistency response: Bristol stool score

Daily pain response: worst abdominal pain scores in the past 24 hours improved by =30% compared to baseline (average of week prior to randomization). 

“We are pleased with these top-line results, which put us one step closer to filling an unmet medical need in men and women with IBS-d,” said June Almenoff, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief medical officer of Furiex. “In addition to showing both rapid onset and durable efficacy of the primary endpoints, both pivotal studies demonstrated robust efficacy for the secondary endpoint of adequate relief of IBS symptoms. We look forward to further analyzing the data and plan to present details at an upcoming medical conference.” 

Eluxadoline has been granted Fast Track status by the FDA, a process designed to facilitate development and expedite the review of drugs to treat diseases with significant unmet medical need.