VIB7734 potentially represents a novel treatment for autoimmune diseases caused by the overproduction of type I interferons and other cytokines secreted by a type of dendritic cell called pDCs. VIB7734 is designed to target and bind to ILT7, a cell surface molecule specific to pDCs, leading to their depletion. The benefits are multifold as this depletion may also decrease other inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a and IL-6, which are critical to the pathogenesis of a number of autoimmune diseases.
We have completed a Phase 1a single-ascending dose trial in patients with various autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis, polymyositis and dermatomyositis. The majority of these conditions can lead to significant morbidity and currently lack approved treatments. The Phase 1a trial demonstrated that VIB7734 was generally well-tolerated and reduced pDC levels.
We are currently studying VIB7734 in an ongoing Phase 1b multiple ascending dose trial, which includes a cohort of patients with the same diseases as well as separate cohorts of patients with CLE in the presence or absence of SLE. The CLE cohorts will be the basis of an interim analysis. Assuming this trial is able to establish proof of concept, we intend to progress to Phase 2 clinical trials in other diseases that are also driven by interferons and other proinflammatory cytokines secreted by pDCs.