A new drug called RABI-767 completed preclinical studies and shows promise as the first sufficient therapy to help prevent life-threatening complications related to pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is a disease condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas. According to Pancreas.org, an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 cases of acute pancreatitis occur in the United States each year. It is the leading cause of emergency department visits with over 330,000 hospital admissions annually and on the rise worldwide.
Pancreatitis is usually caused by alcohol or gallstones. Less common causes are certain medicines, an injury to the abdomen, some procedures, and infections. High levels of triglycerides (fats) and calcium may also cause pancreatitis. A new Mayo Clinic study released in Science Advances found that during an acute pancreatitis, the body will too quickly break down unsaturated “oily” fats in the body which increase cellular toxicity and the risk of organ failure.
Lamassu Pharma’s novel treatment would help save lives and reduce costly hospital stays if successful. RABI-767 is an injection in the pancreas that is the first and only drug designed to slow the breakdown of unsaturated fat which would protect patients against organ failure and mitigate symptoms.
In patients with COVID-19, the inflammation in the body can make acute pancreatitis worse. Several studies during the past year have shown that the virus receptors are expressed in panreatic cells making the pancreas a target organ.
During the next few months, Lamassu expects to receive approval to begin clinical trials. Researchers are watching coronavirus variants to determine whether to fast-track development of a clinical trial specifically for the patients who develop COVID-19.