Drug developed for rare epilepsies

Published: January 05 2024
Last updated: March 26 2024

Grace Wood | Bexicaserin, an epilepsy drug for rare conditions, has been shown to reduce seizures

The epilepsy drug has been developed by Longboard PharmaceuticalsA new medication for rare epilepsies has reduced seizures by more than 50% in the latest clinical trials.

Bexicaserin has been developed to treat Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and other developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs).

DEEs are types of genetic epilepsy that usually appear during early childhood.

The epilepsy drug is currently not available to patients, but may become available if it is shown to work in larger studies.

Bexicaserin has been created and tested by American company Longboard Pharmaceuticals.

Longboard’s president and chief executive officer Kevin R Lind said: “We believe bexicaserin provides us with the cornerstone to build a world-class epilepsy franchise and to explore development paths that may offer novel options to DEE patients who are vastly under served.”

The company said bexicaserin achieved an average seizure reduction of 53.3%, compared to 20.8% in the placebo group.

The threshold for a drug to be considered clinically effective is a 50% reduction in seizures.

The average seizure reduction for patients with Dravet syndrome was 72.1%, 48.1% in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and 61.2% in other DEEs.

The results come from a small group of 52 people aged 12-65 years old. Nine dropped out. 43 participants took bexicaserin and nine took the placebo.

The drug was taken orally at measures of 6mg, 9mg and 12mg, three times daily.

The studies took place at 34 sites across the US and Australia.

Only three participants reported a serious adverse event during the trial, these were ankle fracture, constipation and increased seizures. No deaths were reported. No participants in the placebo group discontinued or experienced a side effect.

All of the participants who completed the study are now taking part in the ongoing 52-week extension study.

Longboard’s chief medical officer Dr Randall Kaye said: “These exciting results underscore our belief that bexicaserin’s differentiated profile will translate into a clinically and commercially best-in-class product and has the potential to redefine the standard of care in DEEs.”