Sage to Expedite Development of SAGE-217 in Major Depressive Disorder and Postpartum Depression

Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) announced on 6/12/2018 its expedited development plan for SAGE-217 following a Breakthrough Therapy meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This development plan is intended to support a potential filing for approval of SAGE-217 in the U.S. for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and postpartum depression (PPD).

The expedited development plan for SAGE-217 includes a single additional placebo-controlled Phase 3 pivotal trial in patients with MDD and the ongoing placebo-controlled trial in women with PPD, now designated a pivotal trial. Both clinical trials are designed to evaluate the novel concept of episodic dosing, or short course treatment, with SAGE-217 and its effect on the reduction of depressive symptoms compared to placebo. An open-label study will evaluate the potential of episodic treatment for recurrent or new major depressive episodes and provide additional safety data.

Sage plans to initiate the placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial in MDD during the second half of 2018. Further, Sage anticipates announcing top-line data from the placebo-controlled pivotal trial of SAGE-217 in PPD in the fourth quarter of 2018. This expedited pivotal program is supported by the results of a positive placebo-controlled trial in patients with MDD announced in December 2017.

“Sage is excited to receive feedback from the FDA that provides a possible groundbreaking path forward for the development of SAGE-217 for the treatment of depression,” said Jeff Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer of Sage. “In this development program, we are exploring the potential for patients with MDD to feel well within days, with just a 2-week course of treatment – similar to how antibiotics are used today – instead of enduring long-term chronic treatment. We believe a medicine with rapid onset and robust response could be truly paradigm shifting. SAGE-217, if successfully developed and approved, may rewrite the textbook on how the tens of millions of people suffering from MDD are treated, ultimately turning depression into a disorder, not an identity.”

Sage received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA for SAGE-217 in MDD in February 2018. The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to offer a potentially expedited development path and review for promising drug candidates, which includes increased interaction and guidance from the FDA. This regulatory decision was based primarily on the positive results from the placebo-controlled trial of SAGE-217 in 89 adult patients with moderate to severe MDD. In the trial, SAGE-217 met the primary endpoint with a statistically significant mean reduction in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) 17-item total score from baseline at Day 15 in the SAGE-217 group, compared to placebo (p<0.0001). Statistically significant improvements were observed in the HAM-D score compared to placebo by the morning following the first dose through Week 4 and the effects of SAGE-217 remained numerically greater than placebo through the end of follow-up at Week 6. SAGE-217 was generally well-tolerated. The most common adverse events in the SAGE-217 group were headache, dizziness, nausea, and somnolence.

Sage is also developing SAGE-217 for bipolar depression and insomnia. As of this writing Sage's shares are up over 5%.