Background Voclosporin (VCS), a novel calcineurin inhibitor, was approved in the US in January 2021 for the treatment of adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN) in combination with background immunosuppressive therapy. The Phase 3 AURORA 1 study showed that the addition of VCS to mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and low-dose steroids in patients with LN significantly increased rates of complete renal response at 52 weeks. Here we report the results of the completed continuation study, AURORA 2, which assessed the long-term safety and tolerability of VCS compared to placebo in patients with LN receiving treatment for an additional 24 months following completion of the AURORA 1 study.
Methods Key inclusion criteria for the parent AURORA 1 study included a diagnosis of biopsy-proven active LN (Class III, IV, or V ± III/IV), proteinuria ≥1.5 mg/mg (≥2 mg/mg for Class V) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) >45 mL/min/1.73 m2. Patients who completed AURORA 1 were eligible to enter AURORA 2 to continue on the same blinded therapy as at the end of AURORA 1 (either VCS or placebo twice daily in combination with MMF and low-dose steroids). Safety and tolerability were monitored, and eGFR, serum creatinine (SCr), and urine protein creatinine ratio (UPCR) were also assessed.
Results In total, 116 and 100 patients in the VCS and control arms enrolled in AURORA 2. There were no unexpected safety signals in the VCS arm compared to control, with similar rates of serious adverse events reported in both arms (VCS [18.1%] vs. control [23.0%]; table 1). Eight patients in each arm experienced serious adverse events of infection; serious coronavirus infections were observed in two patients in the voclosporin arm and 5 patients in the control arm. There were 4 and 2 adverse events by preferred term of renal impairment reported in the VCS and control arms, respectively, none of which were considered serious, and no reports of acute kidney injury by preferred term in either arm. There were no deaths in the VCS arm during AURORA 2; four deaths were reported in the control arm (pulmonary embolism [n=1], coronavirus infection [n=3]). Mean eGFR and SCr levels remained stable through the end of AURORA 2. The difference between the VCS and control arms in LS mean change from baseline in eGFR was 2.7 mL/min/1.73 m2 at 4 weeks following study drug discontinuation (figure 1). The mean reductions in UPCR observed in patients treated with VCS in AURORA 1 were maintained in AURORA 2 with no increase in UPCR noted at the follow-up visit 4 weeks after study drug discontinuation.
Conclusion Voclosporin was well-tolerated over 3 years of treatment with no unexpected safety signals detected. Further, eGFR remained stable throughout the study period and the significant and meaningful reductions in proteinuria achieved in AURORA 1 were maintained. These data provide evidence of a long-term treatment benefit of VCS in patients with LN.
Disclosures AS reports payments for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. speaker bureaus; primary investigator for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. clinical trials; advisory fees from Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Kezar Life Sciences. YKOT reports research grants from commercial organizations including an unrestricted research grant from GlaxoSmithKline and Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc.; primary investigator for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. clinical trials; consultancy fees paid to institution from Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc., Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, KezarBio, Vifor Pharma and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. CC, NE, and HL are employees and shareholders of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. HL is an employee and shareholder of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Data first presented by Saxena A et al. at the EULAR Congress June 1-4, 2022. Editorial support provided by MediComm Partners Ltd. Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. provided funding for the study and presentation.
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