Meet the Compounds: WVE-120101 and WVE-120102

Image source: Robinson R. RNAi Therapeutics: How Likely, How Soon? PLoS Biol. 2004 Jan;2(1):E28. Epub 2004 Jan 20. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020028. Published under a Creative Commons 2.5 License.

Image source: Robinson R. RNAi Therapeutics: How Likely, How Soon? PLoS Biol. 2004 Jan;2(1):E28. Epub 2004 Jan 20. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020028. Published under a Creative Commons 2.5 License.

By: Meredith A. Achey, BM
Manufacturer: WAVE Life Sciences
Molecular formula: Stereopure antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
Mechanism of action: WVE-120101 and WVE-120102 act by selectively binding mHTT mRNA, thereby selectively inhibiting production of mHTT. WAVE Life Sciences has developed a strategy to synthesize stereopure nucleotide-based therapies that may improve their efficacy and safety.1

Nucleotide-based gene silencing therapies such as RNA interference (RNAi) and antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) represent some of the most promising potential therapies for genetic diseases such as HD. However, methods for their synthesis developed to date produce mixtures of stereoisomers, some of which are therapeutic, and others that may be less effective or potentially detrimental.1,2 WAVE Life Sciences has developed a propriety technology for the synthesis of stereopure nucleic acid therapeutics3-5 with the potential to improve therapeutic efficacy and reduce harmful effects.6
The company hopes to develop stereopure nucleic acid therapies for a variety of genetic diseases, including central nervous system disease such as HD, and a number of genetic disorders that affect other organ systems.7

WAVE’s most advanced HD programs currently encompass two compounds that target different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) common to the mutant allele. The company plans to file investigational new drug applications for both of these compounds this year, and has received orphan drug designation in the US for its lead candidate, WVE-120101.8 These compounds target the two most common SNPs associated with mHTT.9 Current efforts by Ionis in the first human trial of a gene-silencing nucleotide-based therapy do not target mHTT selectively (see HD Insights, Vol. 13), although preclinical data have not suggested a significant decrease in efficacy nor increase in potential harm from a non-selective approach.10 However, interest in more selective approaches has continued because the possibility for off-target effects with non-selective silencing remains problematic.11-15

Pfister and colleagues9 reported that they have been able to develop small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that target specific SNPs to treat approximately 75% of individuals with HD. In 2015, targeting approaches were further refined with the discovery that targeting three common haplotypes could enable selective silencing of the HD gene in approximately 80% of patients.13 The use of stereopure synthesis to enhance the delivery and efficacy of these highly targeted compounds may further refine ongoing efforts to develop an effective and safe gene-silencing therapy for HD.

Table. Selected studies of allele-specific gene-silencing therapies

Study Year Type of therapy Most promising target SNP(s) Summary
Skotte NH et al.16 2014 ASO rs7685686_A Allele-specific, high affinity ASOs targeting different SNPs associated with HD could together offer allele-selective silencing to approximately 50% of patients, and non-selective silencing to the remainder.
Drouet et al.12 2014 shRNA rs363125, rs362331, rs2276881, rs362307 shRNA delivered with a lentiviral vector to cellular and animal models showed in vitro and in vivo silencing of mHTT.
Yu D et al.17 2012 ss-siRNA Targets CAG repeat ss-siRNA targeting expanded CAG repeats led to selective silencing of mHTT expression in an HD mouse model.
Abbreviations: ASO: Antisense oligonucleotide; shRNA: small hairpin RNA; ss-siRNA: single-stranded small interfering RNA; SNP: single nucleotide polymorphism

References
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