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Hamilton, Bermuda, May 14, 2021 – Auris Medical Holding Ltd. (NASDAQ: EARS), a clinical-stage company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs in neurotology, rhinology and allergy and CNS disorders, today announced that it has reached the midpoint for enrollment in Part B of its Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial of AM-125 (intranasal betahistine) in the treatment of acute peripheral vertigo.
In Part B of the TRAVERS trial, the Company will enroll 72 patients who suffer from acute peripheral vertigo following neurosurgery. They are randomized to receive either 10 or 20 mg of intranasal betahistine or a placebo three times daily for four weeks. The improvement in the “Standing on Foam” test from baseline to Day 14 will be the primary efficacy endpoint; the improvement in the “Tandem Romberg” test to Day 42 (i.e. two weeks after completion of treatment) will be the key secondary efficacy endpoint. The two tests measure how long patients are able to maintain balance on a foam mat or with the two feet aligned one after the other, respectively, while they have their eyes closed. An interim analysis based on Part A of the TRAVERS trial had shown a positive dose-response relationship with active-treated patients performing up to 1.9 to 2.4 times better in the two key balance tests.
“We are very pleased to have reached this important interim milestone in the TRAVERS trial and to see recruitment rates recovering from the slow-down imposed by the second Covid-19 wave in recent months,” commented Thomas Meyer, Auris Medical’s founder, Chairman and CEO. “We look forward to completing the TRAVERS trial later in 2021 and to advancing the AM-125 program further. Unlike other vertigo drugs that suppress the vestibular function to treat just short-term symptoms such as nausea, AM-125 acts as a vestibular stimulant to enhance and accelerate vestibular compensation and help patients to ‘get back on their feet’ more quickly. There is a strong medical need for a novel drug in this area, with e.g. 35.4% of the US population aged 40 years and older suffering from vestibular dysfunction (i.e. failing the ‘Standing on Foam’ test).”
The Company expects to complete enrollment into Part B of the TRAVERS trial by the end of the third quarter 2021, provided that the Covid-19 pandemic does not cause renewed restrictions on patient enrollment.
Betahistine is a small molecule structural analog of histamine, which acts as an agonist at the H1 and as an antagonist at the H3 histamine receptors. Unlike histamine, it crosses the blood-brain-barrier. It is known to enhance inner ear and cerebral blood flow, increase histamine turnover and enhance histamine release in the brain, increase release of acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain and to result in general brain arousal. The compound has a very good safety profile, yet it is also known that its clinical utility is held back by poor oral bioavailability. Intranasal administration of betahistine has been shown to result in 5 to 29 times higher bioavailability.
Intranasal betahistine is being developed under project code AM-125 for the treatment of acute peripheral vertigo. Betahistine has been shown to increase cochlear, vestibular and cerebral blood flow, facilitate vestibular compensation and inhibit neuronal firing in the vestibular nuclei. Betahistine for oral administration is approved in about 115 countries, with the US being a notable exception, for the treatment of vertigo and Meniere’s disease.
About Auris Medical
Auris Medical is a clinical-stage company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs in neurotology, rhinology and allergy and CNS disorders. The Company is focused on the development of intranasal betahistine for the treatment of vertigo (AM-125, in Phase 2) and for the prevention of antipsychotic-induced weight gain and somnolence (AM-201, post Phase 1b). Through its affiliate Altamira Medica, the Company is developing BentrioTM (AM-301), a nasal spray for protection against airborne viruses and allergens. In addition, Auris Medical has two Phase 3 programs under development: Sonsuvi® (AM-111) for acute inner ear hearing loss and Keyzilen® (AM-101) for acute inner ear tinnitus. The Company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda with its main operations in Basel, Switzerland. The shares of Auris Medical Holding Ltd. trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “EARS.”
This press release may contain statements that constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical facts and may include statements that address future operating, financial or business performance or Auris Medical’s strategies or expectations. In some cases, you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “may”, “might”, “will”, “should”, “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “estimates”, “predicts”, “projects”, “potential”, “outlook” or “continue”, or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and beliefs and involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from those contemplated by these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the approval and timing of commercialization of AM-301, Auris Medical’s need for and ability to raise substantial additional funding to continue the development of its product candidates, the timing and conduct of clinical trials of Auris Medical’s product candidates, the clinical utility of Auris Medical’s product candidates, the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals, Auris Medical’s intellectual property position and Auris Medical’s financial position, including the impact of any future acquisitions, dispositions, partnerships, license transactions or changes to Auris Medical’s capital structure, including future securities offerings. These risks and uncertainties also include, but are not limited to, those described under the caption “Risk Factors” in Auris Medical’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2020, and in Auris Medical's other filings with the SEC, which are available free of charge on the Securities Exchange Commission's website at: www.sec.gov. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated. All forward-looking statements and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to Auris Medical or to persons acting on behalf of Auris Medical are expressly qualified in their entirety by reference to these risks and uncertainties. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Auris Medical does not undertake any obligation to update them in light of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable law.