Increased dystrophin production with golodirsen in patients with DMD

The objective of this study (NCT02310906) was to report safety, pharmacokinetics, exon 53 skipping, and dystrophin expression in golodirsen-treated patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) amenable to exon 53 skipping.

Part 1 was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week dose titration of once-weekly golodirsen; part 2 is an ongoing, open-label evaluation. Safety and pharmacokinetics were primary and secondary objectives of part 1. Primary biological outcome measures of part 2 were blinded exon skipping and dystrophin protein production on muscle biopsies (baseline, week 48) evaluated, respectively, using reverse transcription PCR and Western blot and immunohistochemistry.

Twelve patients were randomized to receive golodirsen (n = 8) or placebo (n = 4) in part 1. All from part 1 plus 13 additional patients received 30 mg/kg golodirsen in part 2. Safety findings were consistent with those previously observed in pediatric patients with DMD. Most of the study drug was excreted within 4 hours following administration. A significant increase in exon 53 skipping was associated with ∼16-fold increase over baseline in dystrophin protein expression at week 48, with a mean percent normal dystrophin protein standard of 1.019% (range, 0.09%-4.30%). Sarcolemmal localization of dystrophin was demonstrated by significantly increased dystrophin-positive fibers (week 48, p < 0.001) and a positive correlation (Spearman r = 0.663; p < 0.001) with dystrophin protein change from baseline, measured by Western blot and immunohistochemistry.

Golodirsen was well-tolerated; muscle biopsies from golodirsen-treated patients showed increased exon 53 skipping, dystrophin production, and correct dystrophin sarcolemmal localization.

This study provides Class I evidence that golodirsen is safe and Class IV evidence that it induces exon skipping and novel dystrophin as confirmed by 3 different assays.


Increased dystrophin production with golodirsen in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Frank DE, Schnell FJ, Akana C, El-Husayni SH, Desjardins CA, Morgan J, Charleston JS, Sardone V, Domingos J, Dickson G, Straub V, Guglieri M, Mercuri E, Servais L1, Muntoni F; SKIP-NMD Study Group. Neurology. 2020 Mar 5. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009233. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009233. [Epub ahead of print]