PharmaIN Corporation and LAT Pharma LLC today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted their request for orphan-drug designation for terlipressin for the treatment of ascites due to all etiologies except for cancer. Ascites, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen, is a serious complication of liver cirrhosis. The companies' lead new drug candidate PHT101 (or PGC-C12E-Terlipressin) incorporates novel drug delivery technologies that may enable once-daily administration via subcutaneous injection dosing in chronic outpatient populations.
Chronic liver disease/cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death due to disease in the US, killing an estimated 27,000 people each year. Approximately 60% of cirrhosis patients eventually develop ascites. Ascites patients face a significantly increased risk of other life-threatening complications, such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and hepatorenal syndrome (HRS), with a very poor prognosis of 50% survival two years after onset. Current treatments include salt-restricted diet, high doses of diuretics, and frequent paracentesis, the removal of large volumes of ascitic fluid with a needle through the abdominal wall. People with ascites are also often candidates for liver transplantation.
Elijah Bolotin , PhD, President of PharmaIN, said, "Orphan-drug designation by the FDA indicates the importance of this new drug candidate to a desperately ill group of patients. We are excited about the medical potential of PHT101, which synergistically incorporates two of our proprietary technologies designed to enable safer and more effective drug therapy: PGC-Hydrophobic Core nanocarrier-based delivery and unique fatylation that leads to a pro-drug."