Phase 2 clinical trial investigating adrulipase as a treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency associated with cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis expected to initiate prior to year-end 2022
BOCA RATON, Fla., Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Wave BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:FWBI) (“First Wave BioPharma” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of targeted, non-systemic therapies for gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Rho, a full-service contract research organization (CRO), for its planned Phase 2 clinical trial of an enhanced enteric microgranule delivery formulation for adrulipase. First Wave BioPharma is developing adrulipase as a treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic pancreatitis (CP). The Phase 2 clinical trial is expected to initiate prior to the close of 2022.
Under the agreement, Rho will manage the Phase 2 clinical trial of the microgranule drug delivery formulation of adrulipase. In vitro data suggest the formulation offers improved protection against the acidic pH in the stomach followed by rapid release of adrulipase in the small intestine where the drug is expected to mix with food and deliver its therapeutic benefit. Additionally, in vitro research indicates the enhanced formulation has the potential to significantly decrease the number of pills a patient would need to take to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. The pill burden for current commercial pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) can be as high as 40 capsules per day, creating a substantial challenge for EPI patients.
“We are preparing to initiate the planned Phase 2 trial of our new microgranule delivery formulation for adrulipase and are pleased to have Rho as our CRO partner given the company’s proven expertise and experience managing our prior adrulipase clinical programs,” said James Sapirstein, President and CEO of First Wave BioPharma. “Research, including data recently presented at AAPS 2022, indicates the new adrulipase formulation should deliver the drug in the intended area of the gastrointestinal tract. We are eager to evaluate the potential of our new formulation in the proof-of-concept Phase 2 clinical trial, which we expect to initiate before year-end.”
“We are delighted to continue our work with First Wave BioPharma and are eager to use the expertise we’ve gained from managing prior clinical programs involving adrulipase,” said Dr. Jack Modell, Chief Medical Officer from Rho. “We look forward to being a valued partner to First Wave BioPharma in the management of the soon-to-be-initiated Phase 2 trial.”
Adrulipase is a recombinant lipase enzyme administered as an oral, non-systemic biologic capsule for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic pancreatitis (CP). Adrulipase is derived from the Yarrowia lipolytica yeast lipase and is designed to break up fat molecules in the digestive tract of EPI patients so that they can be absorbed as nutrients. EPI is a condition characterized by deficiency of the exocrine pancreatic enzymes, resulting in a patient’s inability to digest food properly, or maldigestion. The deficiency in this enzyme can be responsible for greasy diarrhea, fecal urge and weight loss. There are more than 30,000 patients in the U.S. with EPI caused by cystic fibrosis according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and approximately 90,000 patients in the U.S. with EPI caused by chronic pancreatitis according to the National Pancreas Foundation.
About First Wave BioPharma, Inc.
First Wave BioPharma is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of targeted, non-systemic therapies for gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. The Company is currently advancing a therapeutic development pipeline with multiple clinical stage programs built around its two proprietary technologies – the biologic adrulipase, a recombinant lipase enzyme designed to enable the digestion of fats and other nutrients, and niclosamide, an oral small molecule with anti-inflammatory properties. First Wave is advancing two Phase 2 clinical programs built around adrulipase for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (FW-EPI) in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic pancreatitis (CP). In developing adrulipase, First Wave is seeking to provide CF and CP patients with a safe and effective therapy to control EPI that is non-animal derived and offers the potential to dramatically reduce their daily pill burden. The company is also advancing multiple programs involving niclosamide, including FW-UP for ulcerative proctitis and ulcerative proctosigmoiditis, FW-UC for ulcerative colitis, and FW-CD for Crohn’s disease. First Wave BioPharma is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. For more information visit www.firstwavebio.com.
Rho is a global, privately held contract research organization (CRO) headquartered in Research Triangle Park, a biotech hub in North Carolina, US. Rho provides a full range of drug development services, from program strategy through to clinical trials and marketing applications. For more than 36 years, Rho has been a trusted partner to some of the most innovative pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies as well as academic and government organizations. Dedicated to service excellence and cross-functional collaboration, Rho’s therapeutic expertise, employee focus and commitment to strong site relationships change what it means to work with a CRO – accelerating time to market, maximizing ROI, and delivering consistent, smarter and more efficient programs. Experience Rho by following the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
This press release may contain certain statements relating to future results which are forward-looking statements. It is possible that the Company’s actual results and financial condition may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial condition indicated in these forward-looking statements, depending on factors including whether results obtained in preclinical and nonclinical studies and clinical trials will be indicative of results obtained in future clinical trials; whether preliminary or interim results from a clinical trial will be indicative of the final results of the trial; whether the contemplated offering will be successful and whether the Company will be able to regain and maintain compliance with Nasdaq’s continued listing criteria; the size of the potential markets for the Company’s drug candidates and its ability to service those markets; the effects of the First Wave Bio, Inc. acquisition, the related settlement and their effect on the Company’s business, operating results and financial prospects; and the Company’s current and future capital requirements and its ability to raise additional funds to satisfy its capital needs. Additional information concerning the Company and its business, including a discussion of factors that could materially affect the Company’s financial results are contained in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 under the heading “Risk Factors,” as well as the Company’s subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release, and we do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which we hereafter become aware.
For more information:
First Wave BioPharma, Inc.
777 Yamato Road, Suite 502
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 589-7020
Tiberend Strategic Advisors, Inc.