Synonyms: AC-1204 , Caprylic triglyceride
Therapy Type: Supplement, Dietary (timeline), Other
Target Type: Other (timeline)
Condition(s): Alzheimer's Disease
U.S. FDA Status: Alzheimer's Disease (Phase 2/3)
Company: Cerecin Pte. Ltd.
Approved for: None
Tricaprilin is the follow-up to Accera's AC-1202/Axona medical food product. It is a proprietary, oral formulation of caprylic triglyceride, which was designed to induce a mild chronic ketosis in order to improve mitochondrial metabolism. Regional reductions in cerebral glucose utilization are an early feature of Alzheimer's disease (Reiman et al., 2004). The rationale behind tricaprilin is to boost cellular metabolism in Alzheimer's by providing a fuel alternative to glucose. Caprylic acid is metabolized into so-called ketone bodies, such as acetoacetic acid and β-hydroxybutyric acid, which can be converted to acetyl-CoA to produce energy via the citric acid cycle.
Based on clinical experience with Accera's Axona, a medical food similar to tricaprilin, this new formulation entered clinical evaluation in Phase 2/3.
In December 2012, Accera withdrew ALERT, a planned six-month Phase 2/3 trial it had previously registered (NCT01211782), reportedly because it was being redesigned.
From March 2013 to October 2016, Accera conducted NOURISH AD, a multicenter, six-month efficacy trial with an optional six-month, open-label extension. This trial enrolled 418 patients with mild to moderate AD at 82 locations in the United States. It compared the effect of once-daily administration of 40 g of AC-1204 containing 20 mg of the active ingredient caprylic triglyceride to placebo on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale–Cognitive Subscale (ADAS–Cog) in ApoE4 non-carriers. As secondary outcomes, the trial used additional cognitive, clinical, and global measures in ApoE4 non-carriers; other outcomes include overlapping measures in ApoE4 carriers plus still more cognitive and clinical measures in both carriers and non-carriers.
In 2016, Accera started three Phase 1 studies of AC-1204 in a total of 52 healthy volunteers. One compares serum ketone body levels after administration of AC-1204 versus caprylic triglyceride oil, as well as interactions with a high-fat diet; one compares serum ketone body generation after AC-1204 mixed in water or AC-1202 in water, versus AC-1201 in Ensure; and one compares ketone body generation after a single dose of AC-1204 to similar formulations, including AC-1202. Also in 2016, Accera conducted a pilot safety study of AC-1204 in 10 people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
On February 28, 2017, Accera announced that the NOURISH-AD trial had failed to detect a statistically significant difference between AC-1204 and placebo on the ADAS-cog (see company press release). The data were subsequently published (Henderson et al., 2020). Part of the failure was attributed to poor bioavailability of the new formulation, which produced lower plasma ketone concentrations than did Axona.
Between March 2017 and May 2020, the company performed four Phase 1 trials of new formulations of tricaprilin. As presented at the 2020 CTAD virtual meeting, the AC-SD-03 formulation was chosen for further development based on its pharmacokinetics and tolerability. In an ascending dose study in people over age 50, a 30 mg dose resulted in blood ketone levels above the target of 500 μM. The most common side effects were gastrointestinal, including abdominal distention, discomfort and nausea. The maximum ketone concentrations and total plasma exposure did not differ between Caucasian and Chinese participants.
In October 2018, Accera changed its name to Cerecin, following investments from a Singapore-based agribusiness group and a private equity fund backed by Nestlé (press release).
In December 2019, Cerecin registered a Phase 3 trial of AC-SD-03, now also called CER-0001. As of February 2021, this study was not yet recruiting and listed a study start of June 2022. It aims to enroll 300 people with mild to moderate AD who do not carry an ApoE4 allele and whose FDG-PET glucose uptake pattern is typical of AD. They will drink 20 g of tricaprilin mixed into 240 ml of water twice per day for 6 months, as an add-on to any ongoing treatments. The primary outcome is change in ADAS-Cog11, with secondary outcomes of safety and tolerability, the Clinical Global Assessment of Change, and measures of disability, dependence and resource utilization. An optional 30 week open-label extension is planned, with study completion slated for February 2024.
In June 2020, the company also registered a small Phase 2 study for migraine; this trial is recruiting.
In October 2020, the FDA granted Orphan Drug designation to CER-0001 for treatment of infantile spasms, a rare form of epilepsy which occurs in the first year of life, and is improved with a ketogenic diet.
Clinical Trial Timeline
- Phase 2/3
- Study completed / Planned end date
- Planned end date unavailable
- Study aborted
Last Updated: 03 Feb 2021
- Henderson ST, Morimoto BH, Cummings JL, Farlow MR, Walker J. A Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group, Randomized Clinical Trial of AC-1204 in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;75(2):547-557. PubMed.
- Reiman EM, Chen K, Alexander GE, Caselli RJ, Bandy D, Osborne D, Saunders AM, Hardy J. Functional brain abnormalities in young adults at genetic risk for late-onset Alzheimer's dementia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jan 6;101(1):284-9. PubMed.
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