Novel Mitochondria-Targeting Peptide in Heart Failure Treatment: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Elamipretide

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Mitochondrial dysfunction and energy depletion in the failing heart are innovative therapeutic targets in heart failure management. Elamipretide is a novel tetrapeptide that increases mitochondrial energy; however, its safety, tolerability, and therapeutic effect on cardiac structure and function have not been studied in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

Methods and Results

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, ascending-dose trial, patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (ejection fraction, ≤35%) were randomized to either a single 4-hour infusion of elamipretide (cohort 1 [n=8], 0.005; cohort 2 [n=8], 0.05; and cohort 3 [n=8], 0.25 mg·kg−1·h−1) or placebo control (n=12). Safety and efficacy were assessed by clinical, laboratory, and echocardiographic assessments performed at pre-, mid- and end-infusion and 6-, 8-, 12- and 24-hours postinfusion start. Peak plasma concentrations of elamipretide occurred at end-infusion and were undetectable by 24 hours postinfusion. There were no serious adverse events. Blood pressure and heart rate remained stable in all cohorts. Compared with placebo, a significant decrease in left ventricular end-diastolic volume (−18 mL; P=0.009) and end-systolic volume (−14 mL; P=0.005) occurred at end infusion in the highest dose cohort.


This is the first study to evaluate elamipretide in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and demonstrates that a single infusion of elamipretide is safe and well tolerated. High-dose elamipretide resulted in favorable changes in left ventricular volumes that correlated with peak plasma concentrations, supporting a temporal association and dose–effect relationship. Further study of elamipretide is needed to determine long-term safety and efficacy.

Clinical Trial Registration

URL: Unique identifier: NCT02388464.

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