Why Lamassu Pharma is developing a novel pancreatitis treatment

Acute pancreatitis, involving a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, is a major unmet need in gastroenterology. Severe cases can land patients in the ICU for weeks or months, while treatment options are relegated to support. The condition causes approximately 330,000 hospital admissions annually, according to a 2018 study. Some 20,000 people in the U.S. die from the disease each year. 

Lamassu Pharma (Durham, N.C.) is developing a drug known as RABI-767 that could offer hope to patients with severe acute pancreatitis. The company is gearing up for a Phase 1 trial for the drug. 

Initially discovered by the Mayo Clinic, RABI-767 is a small molecule lipase inhibitor and Lamassu’s lead candidate. After Mayo performed several experiments on the drug candidate, Lamassu moved swiftly to license it. “We kind of went zero to 100 in two seconds,” said Dr. Gabi Hanna, CEO of the company. 

Offering a treatment option for patients with severe acute pancreatitis could…

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Prioritizing translational research is changing drug development for patients and doctors, for good

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

Twelve years. That’s the average amount of time it takes for a viable therapeutic to make it from the research stage to approval for market. In that time, 2.4 million Americans will suffer the effects of severe acute pancreatitis, many of which can be long-lasting and debilitating. Roughly 240,000 of these patients will die as a result of the illness. This is from just one potentially treatable disease.

With more Americans falling ill to preventable diseases each year, the pressure has never been greater for researchers and developers to find ways to create higher-quality therapeutics in less time to save and improve lives. Surprisingly, the way forward is not to change the approval process but to improve the research and development methods applied at each pipeline stage.

The logjam isn’t the approval process — it’s the methods

At first glance, it is easy to assume …

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