Therapy Type: Immunotherapy (passive) (timeline)
Target Type: Inflammation (timeline)
Condition(s): Alzheimer's Disease
U.S. FDA Status: Alzheimer's Disease (Phase 2)
Company: AbbVie, Alector
This humanized monoclonal IgG1 antibody is being developed in a partnership between Alector and AbbVie. It binds the microglial receptor TREM2 and activates signaling, increasing phosphorylation of TREM2's downstream effector Syk, and inducing microglia proliferation. AL002a, a variant of AL002 that recognizes mouse TREM2, reportedly doubled the number of CD11b-positive microglia in cortex and hippocampus 72 hours after injection in APP/PS1 mice. Microglia expressed more pro-inflammatory and repair genes, and nearby amyloid deposits were nearly halved (Dec 2016 conference news). The antibody produced similar results in 5XFAD mice after 72 hours.
Repeated injections of 50 mg/kg AL002a into 4-month-old 5XFAD mice for 14 weeks reportedly raised the number of CD11b-positive microglia by 50 percent. The number of microglia around amyloid plaques doubled, and amyloid load was cut in half. Treated mice performed like wild type in the radial arm water maze and novel object recognition tasks (May 2019 conference news).
An anti-human TREM2 antibody, AL002c, was tested in 5XFAD mice carrying human TREM2 genes. Three months of weekly injection with 30 mg/kg AL002c activated microglia, reduced neurotoxicity and inflammatory signaling, and normalized behavior in an elevated maze. Treatment did not alter Aβ plaque load (Jun 2020 news). AL002c is the preclinical variant of AL002.
In November 2018, AL002 started INVOKE, a Phase 1 trial at six sites in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. In its single-ascending-dose phase, 69 healthy adults received a single infusion of one of nine doses between 0.003 to 60 mg/kg or placebo; in the multiple-ascending dose phase, 30 AD patients will be enrolled in three dose cohorts. Outcomes include safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and immunogenicity. The results of the single-dose portion of the study have been published (June 2020 news). The antibody was well tolerated, and no serious adverse events were noted up to 12 weeks after dosing. Treatment caused dose-dependent changes in two pharmacodynamic markers in CSF: soluble TREM2 was decreased two days after treatment, while a fragment of CSF1R, a receptor expressed only by microglia in the brain, was increased. The trial was completed in December 2020.
In January 2021, the Phase 2 INVOKE-2 study started enrolling 265 people with early AD to compare monthly infusions of 15, 40, or 60 mg/kg of AL002 to placebo on the CDR-SB as a primary outcome. The treatment phase is running for 48 to 96 weeks, through the end of 2023, at 90 sites in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. In late 2021, Alector reported that amyloid-related imaging abnormalities were observed in the INVOKE-2 trial, with some serious adverse events in people with two copies of the ApoE4 allele. The company discontinued dosing E4 homozygotes in the trial, and amended the protocol to exclude them (Feb 2022 press release). After exclusion of homozygotes, no additional serious adverse events related to ARIA were reported (Aug 2022 press release, Jan 2023 company presentation, slides 24-32).
For all trials of AL002, see clinicaltrials.gov.
Last Updated: 14 Feb 2023
- In Mice, Activating TREM2 Tempers Plaque Toxicity, not Load
- Inflammation Helps Microglia Clear Amyloid from AD Brains
- Antibodies Against Microglial Receptors TREM2 and CD33 Head to Trials
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