Korea’s Samsung Bioepis and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical have teamed up to begin a global clinical trial on a new drug candidate to treat severe acute pancreatitis.
The two companies recently obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a candidate substance called SB26, an ulinastatin-Fc fusion protein.
According to Market Research Future, the acute pancreatitis treatment market is estimated to have reached 5 trillion won ($4.41 billion) globally and is expected to grow 3.5 percent annually until 2023.
At present, no drugmaker has developed a treatment that cures severe acute pancreatitis. Some fluid therapies are only available for conservative treatment and complications care.
After clinching a deal to develop a new biopharmaceutical drug in August, Samsung Bioepis and Takeda Pharmaceutical initiated a joint project to work on a treatment for severe acute pancreatitis.
The two companies said they planned to share the biologics development platform and expertise in drug development to develop a new biological drug.
Two other local firms -- SCM Lifescience and GNT Pharma -- have also started testing their experimental drugs, SCM-AGH in a local phase-2 study and Flusalazine, respectively.
Both of the candidates showed potential for the acute pancreatitis indication in animal tests.
SCM Lifescience said SCM-AGH, a stem cell treatment, seemingly increased anti-inflammatory cytokines and T cell levels.
Being developed to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, gastritis, and arthritis, Flusalazine showed effectiveness to reduce pancreatic cell damage and tissue damage in animals with acute and chronic pancreatitis, GNT Pharma said.
Acute pancreatitis causes a wide range of symptoms from merely swelling to systemic symptoms such as multiple organ damage and death.
Early treatment for acute pancreatitis includes fasting and proper fluid therapy, conservative treatment including the use of pain relievers, light enteral feeding, and the use of antibiotics and protease inhibitor to reduce complications.
Pharmaceutical industry officials are paying attention to whether the new drug candidates will succeed to become new treatments for acute pancreatitis.
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