Alcresta Therapeutics recently launched the commercialization of the digestive enzyme cartridge Relizorb to help patients unable of breaking down fats, particularly adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) who depend on enteral nutrition.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic condition caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene involved in several functions, including the production of mucus and digestive fluids.
Cystic fibrosis patients suffer not only from mucus accumulation in the lung airways, which makes breathing difficult, but also from mucus buildup in the pancreas, which restricts the release of digestive enzymes responsible for breaking down food into absorbable nutrients. As a result, about 90 percent of CF patients suffer from fat malabsorption, and 10-15 percent of them depend on enteral nutrition through a gastrostomy tube (or G-tube) for their nutritional needs.
Before the approval of Relizorb by the U.S. FDA in November 2015, there were no approved products to help break down fats in G- tubes. Relizorb is a first-of-its-kind digestive enzyme cartridge containing lipase to facilitate the hydrolysis of fats into simpler components in enteral tube feeding, before being absorbed by the system.
“The launch of Relizorb, our flagship enzyme-based product for use in adult patients with cystic fibrosis who rely on daily enteral feeding to support their medical and nutritional needs, marks a hopeful day for patients that suffer from this condition,” said Alcrestra CEO Daniel Tassé in a news release.
The lack of digestive enzymes in cystic fibrosis patients induces a number of side effects. One is the caloric limitation uptake that may lead to weight loss, and the second is linked to the poor quality of life and adherence to treatment induced by gastrointestinal symptoms caused by a poor digestion, such as cramps, steatorrhea, and build-up of gas.
More importantly, some studies from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 2014 Patient Registry Annual Data Report showed that nutrition is closely associated with lung function. The improvement in lung function correlated well with enhanced body mass index (BMI), which makes the absorption of nutrients important for lung function in cystic fibrosis patients.
“The launch of Relizorb for use in adult patients with cystic fibrosis who receive enteral tube feeding is just the beginning for us as we continue our efforts to bring innovative products to people in need of improved nutritional care,” said Robert Gallotto, co-founder and president of Alcresta Therapeutics.
Alcresta specializes in the development of innovative enzyme-based products for gastrointestinal and rare diseases. The company received an award in 2013 from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics to optimize the development of products related to enteral feeding in cystic fibrosis patients.