Induction, titration, and maintenance dosing regimen in a phase 2 study of pegvaliase for control of blood phenylalanine in adults with phenylketonuria

Roberto Zori, Janet A. Thomas, Natasha Shur, William B. Rizzo, Celeste Decker, Orli Rosen, Mingjin Li, Becky Schweighardt, Kevin Larimore, Nicola Longo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is caused by a deficiency in phenylalanine hydroxylase enzyme activity that leads to phenylalanine (Phe) accumulation in the blood and brain. Elevated blood Phe levels are associated with complications in adults, including neurological, psychiatric, and cognitive issues. Even with nutrition and pharmacological management, the majority of adults with PKU do not maintain blood Phe levels at or below guideline recommended levels. Pegvaliase, PEGylated recombinant Anabaena variabilis phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), converts Phe to trans-cinnamic acid and ammonia, and is an investigational enzyme substitution therapy to lower blood Phe in adults with PKU. Methods: Pegvaliase was administered using an induction, titration, and maintenance dosing regimen in adults with PKU naïve to pegvaliase treatment. Doses were gradually increased until blood Phe ≤ 600 μmol/L was achieved. The maintenance dose was the dose at which participants achieved and sustained blood Phe ≤ 600 μmol/L for at least 4 weeks without dose modification. Analyses were performed for participants who achieved (Group A, n = 11) and did not achieve (Group B, n = 13) maintenance dose during the first 24 weeks of study treatment. Results: Baseline mean blood Phe for Group A and Group B were 1135 μmol/L and 1198 μmol/L, respectively. Mean blood Phe ≤ 600 μmol/L was achieved for Group A by Week 11 (mean blood Phe of 508 ± 483 μmol/L) and for Group B by Week 48 (mean blood Phe of 557 ± 389 μmol/L). The most common adverse events involved hypersensitivity reactions, which were mostly mild to moderate in severity and decreased over time. One participant in Group B had four acute systemic hypersensitivity events of anaphylaxis consistent with clinical National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network criteria; all events were non-IgE mediated and resolved without sequelae, with pegvaliase dosing discontinued after the fourth event. The incidence and titers of anti-drug antibodies were generally lower in Group A compared to Group B. Conclusions: Pegvaliase administered with an induction, titration, and maintenance dosing regimen demonstrated substantial efficacy at reducing blood Phe in both Group A and Group B by Week 48, with a manageable safety profile in most participants. Blood Phe reduction due to pegvaliase appears to be related to dose, treatment duration, and individual immune response; given additional time on treatment and dose titration, later Phe responders (Group B) achieved benefit similar to early Phe responders (Group A), with similar long-term safety profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • PKU
  • Pegvaliase
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Recombinant Anabaena variabilis pegylated phenylalanine ammonia lyase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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