The fundamental challenge of developing a long-acting growth hormone (LAGH) is to create a more convenient growth hormone (GH) dosing profile while retaining the excellent safety, efficacy and tolerability of daily GH. With GH receptors on virtually all cells, replacement therapy should achieve the same tissue distribution and effects of daily (and endogenous) GH while maintaining levels of GH and resulting IGF-1 within the physiologic range. To date, only two LAGHs have gained the approval of either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA); both released unmodified GH, thus presumably replicating distribution and pharmacological actions of daily GH. Other technologies have been applied to create LAGHs, including modifying GH (for example, protein enlargement or albumin binding) such that the resulting analogues possess a longer half-life. Based on these approaches, nearly 20 LAGHs have reached various stages of clinical development. Although most have failed, lessons learned have guided the development of a novel LAGH. TransCon GH is a LAGH prodrug in which GH is transiently bound to an inert methoxy polyethylene glycol (mPEG) carrier. It was designed to achieve the same safety, efficacy and tolerability as daily GH but with more convenient weekly dosing. In phase 2 trials of children and adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), similar safety, efficacy and tolerability to daily GH was shown as well as GH and IGF-1 levels within the physiologic range. These promising results support further development of TransCon GH.
Kennett Sprogøe, Eva Mortensen, David B Karpf and Jonathan A Leff
Charlotte Höybye, Andreas F H Pfeiffer, Diego Ferone, Jens Sandahl Christiansen, David Gilfoyle, Eva Dam Christoffersen, Eva Mortensen, Jonathan A Leff and Michael Beckert
TransCon growth hormone is a sustained-release human growth hormone prodrug under development in which unmodified growth hormone is transiently linked to a carrier molecule. It is intended as an alternative to daily growth hormone in the treatment of growth hormone deficiency. This was a multi-center, randomized, open-label, active-controlled trial designed to compare the safety (including tolerability and immunogenicity), pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of three doses of weekly TransCon GH to daily growth hormone (Omnitrope). Thirty-seven adult males and females diagnosed with adult growth hormone deficiency and stable on growth hormone replacement therapy for at least 3 months were, following a wash-out period, randomized (regardless of their pre-study dose) to one of three TransCon GH doses (0.02, 0.04 and 0.08 mg GH/kg/week) or Omnitrope 0.04 mg GH/kg/week (divided into 7 equal daily doses) for 4 weeks. Main outcomes evaluated were adverse events, immunogenicity and growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels. TransCon GH was well tolerated; fatigue and headache were the most frequent drug-related adverse events and reported in all groups. No lipoatrophy or nodule formation was reported. No anti-growth hormone-binding antibodies were detected. TransCon GH demonstrated a linear, dose-dependent increase in growth hormone exposure without accumulation. Growth hormone maximum serum concentration and insulin-like growth factor 1 exposure were similar after TransCon GH or Omnitrope administered at comparable doses. The results suggest that long-acting TransCon GH has a profile similar to daily growth hormone but with a more convenient dosing regimen. These findings support further TransCon GH development.