Potential MOA

Cortisol release

In a pharmacodynamic study, Acthar Gel engaged melanocortin receptors expressed on the adrenal cortex resulting in the secretion of cortisol at levels slightly above normal endogenous range, which is thought to produce an indirect anti-inflammatory effect.1,2

In a pharmacodynamic study, after 5 doses, the estimated cortisol exposure of Acthar Gel 80 U dosed twice weekly was equivalent to 8.8 mg of prednisone daily, which was 1.3 mg above normal endogenous range.1,3,4

Free cortisol response after a single therapeutic dose

Acthar Gel AUC24=324 ± 66 hr*ng/mL.

*The prednisone-equivalent range of normal endogenous cortisol is 5 mg–7.5 mg.3

AUC=area under curve.

Data presented are from an independent study in healthy adult subjects. Data presented are following a single dose given on the first day.

Study design, safety findings, and study limitations1

An open-label, single-center, randomized, multiple-dose parallel group study to compare the pharmacodynamics (PD) and safety of intermittent doses of Acthar Gel to daily oral methylprednisolone (MP) in healthy subjects. Subjects between 18 and 50 years old were randomized to receive Acthar Gel 40 or 80 U SC twice weekly for 15 days (n=12/group) or 16 mg of oral MP given once daily for 15 days (n=12), followed by a tapering regimen of 8 mg daily for 2 days, then 4 mg daily for 2 days. The most frequently reported treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) that occurred in 2 or more subjects were (in decreasing order of frequency): injection site hemorrhage, headache, injection site erythema, injection site pruritus, insomnia, acne, infrequent bowel movements, and injection site pain. All TEAEs experienced during this study were considered mild in severity. As this was a healthy-subject, open-label study with no placebo control, the clinical relevance of differences in tolerability is unknown and remains to be investigated for patient populations.

Direct cell modulation

Independent of cortisol release, Acthar Gel has shown a direct effect on immune cell modulation

In an in vitro study using human B cells, Acthar Gel reduced B cell proliferation and IgG production independent of cortisol release.5,6,7

Acthar Gel reduced B-cell proliferation and IgG production5,6

P<.05 vs vehicle-treated group.

Study design5,6

The effects of Acthar Gel on human B-lymphocyte function in vitro were evaluated using highly purified B-cell populations cultured in the absence of glucocorticoids and stimulated by recombinant IL-4 and CD40 ligand (CD40L) as specific B-cell activating signals. IgG was measured in supernatants from healthy human peripheral B cells cultured for 6 days. Percentage of cells that divided and IgG production were assessed under basal conditions (unstimulated), stimulated with IL-4/CD40L alone (vehicle), or stimulated with IL-4/CD40L plus a 1:22 dilution of 80 U/mL stock of Acthar Gel. Data presented were adapted from several independent studies and the highest doses tested are shown in the graph.

Cell modulation independent of cortisol release

Independent of cortisol release, Acthar Gel has shown a direct effect on immune cell modulation

In an in vitro study using human monocyte-derived macrophages, Acthar Gel inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α indicating a potential anti-inflammatory effect independent of cortisol release.7,8

Acthar Gel inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α7,8

P<.0001 vs vehicle-treated group.

Study design7,8

An in vitro study to explore the direct effects of Acthar Gel on human macrophages, focusing on induction of proinflammatory mediators following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. CD14+ monocytes were selected from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Monocytes were then treated with macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) to generate monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). MDMs were stimulated with LPS and incubated for a minimum of 24 hours with Acthar Gel (1:11 dilution of 80 U/mL stock) or placebo (vehicle). Highest dose tested is presented in graph. Cytokines were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

While the exact mechanism of action of Acthar Gel is not fully understood, further investigation is being conducted. This information is based on nonclinical and pharmacodynamic data, and the relationship to clinical benefit is unknown.