Humanigen Partners With CTI, A Leading Contract Research Organization, For Planned Phase III Study For Lenzilumab For Coronavirus Treatment

March 30, 2020

Study to Tackle Leading Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients


  • Lenzilumab, a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF)
  • GM-CSF is up-regulated in COVID-19 patients and may cause a harmful immune response leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Clinical evidence suggests that this harmful immune response contributes to cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients at risk of developing ARDS
  • Company plans to study lenzilumab in COVID-19 patients to prevent ARDS and mortality with CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services (CTI)


Burlingame, CA and Covington, KY, March 30, 2020– Humanigen, Inc., (HGEN) (“Humanigen”), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on preventing and treating cytokine storm with lenzilumab, the company’s proprietary Humaneered®anti-human-granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor(GM-CSF) monoclonal antibody, announced that the company has submitted an initial protocol synopsis to the FDA in support of the company’s plans to initiate a multi-center, US, Phase III study in COVID-19 patients


The study, if approved, will be a randomized, controlled, clinical trial with lenzilumab for the prevention of ARDS and/or death in hospitalized patients with pneumonia associated with coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in COVID-19. The study will be conducted in partnership with CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services (CTI), a global, privately held, full-service contract research organization specializing in complex programs for critically and chronically ill patients.


“Humanigen has pioneered the field of GM-CSF neutralization and, unlike others, has already conducted two Phase I and two Phase II studies, including in patients with severe respiratory conditions, with excellent safety results,” said Dr. Cameron Durrant, chief executive officer of Humanigen. Durrant continued, “We have been working on prevention of cytokine storm for nearly three years. Lenzilumab has an excellent safety and tolerability profile and has not been associated with serious adverse events, including in patients who are immunosuppressed or  with severe asthma. Subject to discussion and agreement with regulatory authorities, we intend to progress as quickly as possible with this study.”


“The COVID-19 pandemic demands an unprecedented response from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology communities, requiring innovation, collaboration, and prioritization of speed without the cost of safety,” remarked Tim Schroeder, founder and CEO of CTI. "We are proud to have the opportunity to collaborate on such a response with the Humanigen team and to work together to develop an effective treatment solution for those hardest hit by COVID-19,” he concluded.

More details on the company’s programs in COVID-19 can be found on the company’s website at  www.humanigen.com under the COVID-19 tab.


About COVID-19-Induced ARDS

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 has become a global pandemic, with over 460,000 confirmed cases and over 21,000 deaths reported to date. Patients with severe cases of COVID-19 experience severe viral pneumonia that can progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death.

ARDS is an acute, life-threatening inflammatory lung injury characterized by hypoxia – a lack of oxygen to the tissue – and stiff lungs due to increased pulmonary vascular permeability. ARDS necessitates hospitalization and mechanical ventilation. A rapid increase in patients with ARDS presents a major challenge for the global public health system given limited hospital beds and ventilators. When implementing standard of care, including mechanical ventilation, ARDS has an overall mortality rate of greater than 40%.

About Humanigen, Inc.

Humanigen, Inc. is developing its portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical therapies for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases via its novel, cutting-edge GM-CSF neutralization and gene-knockout platforms.  We believe that our GM-CSF neutralization and gene-editing platform technologies have the potential to reduce the inflammatory cascade associated with coronavirus infection as well as the serious and potentially life-threatening CAR-T therapy-related side effects while preserving and potentially improving the efficacy of the CAR-T therapy itself, thus breaking the efficacy/toxicity linkage. The company’s immediate focus is to prevent or minimize the cytokine storm that precedes severe lung dysfunction and ARDS in cases of pneumonia-associated SARS-CoV-2 infection and also in combining FDA-approved and development stage CAR-T therapies with lenzilumab, the company’s proprietary Humaneered®anti-human-GM-CSF immunotherapy, which is its lead product candidate.  A clinical collaboration with Kite, a Gilead Company, was recently announced to evaluate the sequential use of lenzilumab with Yescarta®, axicabtagene ciloleucel, in a multicenter clinical trial in adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma.  The company is also focused on creating next-generation combinatory gene-edited CAR-T therapies using strategies to improve efficacy while employing GM-CSF gene knockout technologies to control toxicity. In addition, the company is developing its own portfolio of proprietary first-in-class EphA3-CAR-T for various solid cancers and EMR1-CAR-T for various eosinophilic disorders.  The company is also exploring the effectiveness of its GM-CSF neutralization technologies (either through the use of lenzilumab as a neutralizing antibody or through GM-CSF gene knockout) in combination with other CAR-T, bispecific or natural killer (NK) T cell engaging immunotherapy treatments to break the efficacy/toxicity linkage, including to prevent and/or treat graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).  The company has established several partnerships with leading institutions to advance its innovative cell and gene therapy pipeline.  For more information, visit www.humanigen.com.


About CTI

CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services is a global, privately held, full-service contract research organization (CRO), delivering a complete spectrum of clinical trial and consulting services throughout the lifecycle of development, from concept to commercialization. CTI’s focused therapeutic approach provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device firms with clinical and disease area expertise in rare diseases, regenerative medicine/gene therapy, immunology, transplantation, nephrology, hematology/oncology, neurology, infectious diseases, hepatology, cardiopulmonary, and pediatric populations. CTI also offers a fully integrated multi-specialty clinical research site that conducts phase I-IV trials. CTI has a passion for helping life-changing therapies succeed in chronically and critically ill patient populations. With clinical trial experience across 6 continents, CTI partners with research sites, patients, and sponsors to fulfill unmet medical needs. CTI is headquartered in the Greater Cincinnati, OH area, with operations across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. For more information visit www.ctifacts.com.


Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect management's current knowledge, assumptions, judgment and expectations regarding future performance or events. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in such statements are reasonable, they give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct and you should be aware that actual events or results may differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Words such as "will," "expect," "intend," "plan," "potential," "possible," "goals," "accelerate," "continue," and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding our expectations for a Phase III study and the future development of lenzilumab to minimize or reduce the severity of lung dysfunction associated with severe coronavirus infections or to help CAR-T reach its full potential or to deliver benefit in preventing GvHD. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, the risks inherent in Black Horse Capital and its affiliates owning more than 50% of our outstanding common stock, including their ability to control the company; our lack of profitability and need for additional capital to conduct the Phase III study and operate our business as a going concern; our dependence on partners to further the development of our product candidates; the uncertainties inherent in the development and launch of any new pharmaceutical product; the outcome of pending or future litigation; and the various risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" sections and elsewhere in the Company's periodic and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary notice. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements made in this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.


CONTACT:

Investors and media:

ir@humanigen.com

Source: Humanigen, Inc.

Released March 30, 2020

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