Utilization of proteomic surrogates for early detection of unexpected drug benefits


Detection of benefits and adverse effects of therapies in early clinical trial phases could improve the safety, efficiency, and cost of clinical trials. For example, while SGLT2i and GLP-1 RA drugs are recognized success stories, earlier identification of their benefits beyond improved diabetic control may have had the potential to save loss of pa%ents’ lives and years of sales.


CV risk and kidney prognosis SomaSignal tests (each derived from ~5000 plasma proteins measurements using SomaScan® assay) were applied to paired plasma samples at baseline and 9-months (SUGAR-DMHF) or 1-year (EXSCEL) in intervention (EXSCEL n=1840; SUGAR-DM-HF n=45) and control (EXSCEL n=1833; SUGAR-DM-HF n=52) participants. Power calculations were performed to determine the minimum number of samples needed to detect a significant change within the treatment period with alpha = 0.05, 80% power using a t-test comparing two-sample means.


We demonstrated that the cardiovascular benefits of exenatide were detectable with a proteomic surrogate within 1-year (p=0.002), with power analysis indicating a significant 1-year change is observable with group sizes of n=1368 compared with >7000 participants for up to 6.8 years follow-up. Additionally, kidney protection (p=0.037) and CV protection (p=0.06) impacts of empagliflozin within 36 weeks were detectable using proteomic surrogates in small sample sizes (n ~ 50) compared to published outcomes studies requiring thousands of participants followed for >2 years.


SomaSignal tests were able to predict cardiometabolic benefits of GLP-1 RA and SGLT2i drugs within a significantly shortened interval and fewer participants than in the outcome trials. Proteomics may provide a powerful tool for improving the efficacy, and cost of drug development by predicting effects of novel therapeutics in smaller, shorter studies.


Jessica Chadwick
Michael Hinterberg
Clare Paterson
Sama Shrestha
Missy Simpson
Emma Troth
Steve Williams

SomaLogic Operating Co., Inc., Boulder, CO, USA

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