Frequency Therapeutics Announces Publication of Phase 1/2 Data of FX-322 in Acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss

February 24, 2021

WOBURN, MASSACHUSSETTSFrequency Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: FREQ), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on harnessing the body’s innate biology to repair or reverse damage caused by a broad range of degenerative diseases, today announced the publication of its FX-322 Phase 1/2 study results in Otology & Neurotology, a leading peer reviewed journal focused on disorders of the ear.

The data show hearing improvements in adults with acquired sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and the first-known linkage of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics for a potential hearing restoration therapy.  

Findings from the Phase 1/2 study of FX-322, the company’s lead product candidate to treat SNHL, showed statistically significant increases in word recognition (WR) and words-in-noise  (WIN) scores. Individuals with stable SNHL that received a single dose of FX-322 showed  improvements in the number of words recognized in quiet from baseline to day 90 in the WR  test (p=0.029) and the level of background noise in which words could be identified in the WIN  test (p=0.012). There were no meaningful changes in the WR and WIN scores of the placebo group. FX-322 was also shown to be well tolerated. The publication includes data demonstrating consistent cochlear drug delivery in both preclinical and human studies. FX-322 is currently being evaluated in a larger Phase 2a study, with results anticipated later this  quarter.  

The study data was presented at the leading international hearing research  conference, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 44th Annual MidWinter Meeting. 

Healthy hearing is not just about the volume of sound, but about the broader ability to communicate. The most frequent complaint from patients with hearing loss is their inability to  understand speech, which is due to a lack of clarity and loss of intelligibility where patients  can’t recognize words and follow conversations, particularly in background noise”

–Christina Runge, Ph.D.

“These Phase 1/2 data are the first to show a potential therapeutic solution to address intelligibility, a key unmet need for those with SNHL,” commented Christina Runge, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication  Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Director of the Koss Cochlear Implant Program, a  member of the Company’s clinical advisory board and an author on the publication. 

SNHL accounts for more than 90 percent of all hearing loss and results from damage to auditory  sensory hair cells due to chronic noise exposure, aging, certain viral infections or from toxic  medications. SNHL impacts more than 40 million people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions of  people globally. 

“Having a treatment that regenerates sensory hair cells would have a profound impact on the  field, providing physicians with a meaningful intervention for restoring hearing loss,” said Ravi  N. Samy, M.D., FACS, Professor of Otolaryngology & Neurosurgery and Chief of the Division of  Otology/Neurotology at the University of Cincinnati / Cincinnati Children’s. “These exciting early clinical data begin to show the potential of a localized approach to repairing the cochlea,  the ability to deliver a treatment to an area of the body that historically has been impossible to  access and restore, and above all, clinically meaningful hearing improvements in patients.”  

Hearing loss typically begins in higher frequencies and often impacts the ability to hear  and distinguish between certain consonants, making it difficult to understand words, especially in noise. Hearing aids amplify sound but do not improve hearing clarity in higher frequencies or repair the underlying damage to the inner ear. FX-322, an injectable treatment candidate made up of two small molecules, is designed to activate progenitor cells (pre-programmed stem cells)  to regenerate auditory hair cells in the cochlea and restore hearing function. 

“These Phase 1/2 study data build upon the favorable word recognition performances that we  previously reported, while bolstering the trends we saw in words-in-noise scores,” said Will  McLean, Ph.D., Frequency’s Vice President of Biology and Regenerative Medicine, a Company  co-founder and the lead author on the paper. “Increases in speech intelligibility and  improvements when listening in noisy environments can have a significant impact on quality of  life, and we are excited about the potential of our approach for patients and to advance the  field of hearing restoration.”  


FX-322 Development Program 


FX-322 is Frequency’s lead product candidate for the treatment of acquired SNHL. The Phase  1/2 study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose, multi-center study to assess the safety of FX-322 in 23 patients with stable SNHL. Patients received an  intratympanic injection of FX-322 or placebo in one ear during an office-based procedure. In the  study, 15 patients received a single dose of FX-322 in one ear while eight patients received  placebo. 

Of the six patients treated with FX-322 who had baseline word recognition in quiet scores of below 90 percent, four showed clinically meaningful improvements. Also, when assessed at the group level, patients treated with FX-322 outperformed the placebo group in word recognition in a quiet background when averaged across all time points. 

The FX-322 Phase 2a study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single- and repeat-dose study in which the Company enrolled 95 patients aged 18 to 65 with mild to moderately severe SNHL. The study uses validated measures of hearing function including WR, WIN and pure tone audiometry.  

Tinnitus and quality-of-life measures will be evaluated using the Tinnitus Functional Index and the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults, respectively, and the study also includes testing of  extended high frequencies (up to 16 kHz). The Phase 2a study has four dose cohorts, and  hearing function will be regularly tested over the course of seven months following the first dosing. 

The Company is conducting Phase 1b clinical studies to evaluate the potential of FX-322 in additional patient groups, including patients with age-related hearing loss and with severe SNHL. The Company is also conducting an open-label safety study looking at the administration  conditions for FX-322. 

A link to the publication, Improved Speech Intelligibility in Subjects with Stable Sensorineural  Hearing Loss Following Intratympanic Dosing of FX-322 in a Phase 1b Study (W.J. McLean, et.  al.) can be found here. The Editor-in-Chief of Otology and Neurotology is Lawrence Lustig, M.D., Chair, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at Columbia University.  


About Frequency Therapeutics 

Frequency Therapeutics is a leader in the development of medicines designed to activate  progenitor cells within the body to treat degenerative diseases. The Company’s progenitor cell  activation (PCA) approach stimulates progenitor cells to create functional tissue with the aim of  developing disease modifying therapies. The Company’s lead product candidate, FX-322, is  designed to regenerate auditory hair cells to restore hearing function. FX-322 is being evaluated  in multiple ongoing clinical studies in patients with sensorineural hearing loss. The Company  also is evaluating additional diseases where its PCA approach could create functional tissue,  including in a pre-clinical program in multiple sclerosis. Headquartered in Woburn, Mass., Frequency has an ex-U.S. license and collaboration  agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. for FX-322, as well as additional collaboration and  licensing agreements with academic and nonprofit research organizations including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Mass General Brigham, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  The Scripps Research Institute and Cambridge Enterprises Limited. 


Source: Frequency Therapeutics

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