LA JOLLA, Calif., January 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Privately-held CalciMedica, Inc., announced that it started Phase 1 safety studies in healthy volunteers of a novel calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel inhibitor, CM4620, intended to treat acute pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis, sudden painful inflammation of the pancreas, is typically a mild disorder, but can be very serious. In severe cases it can lead to organ failure and sepsis, where extended hospital stays, time in the ICU and substantial morbidity and even mortality are seen. Acute pancreatitis has many different causes, ranging from alcohol and gall stones, which are responsible for the majority of cases, to drug reactions, viral infections or local cancers; there are also hereditary forms. At this time there are no disease-modifying therapies available; patients receive supportive care, including fluids and pain medication.
Michael Dunn, President of CalciMedica, said, “We are very excited that CM4620 has advanced to human studies. Acute pancreatitis is a disease with significant unmet medical need, especially its more severe form. Our preclinical work and that of others strongly indicates that excess calcium in pancreatic cells is a key player in this disease. We believe that CM4620 can help to modify the disease process and benefit patients, and hope to progress from these safety studies to testing in patients by the end of this year.”
About CRAC channels and Orai
CRAC channels, comprising Orai and regulatory STIM proteins, function to maintain proper levels of calcium in most non-excitable cells. In immune cells, particularly T cells, calcium is an important intracellular signaling molecule that controls cytokine production and the immune response. In T cells CRAC channels are the primary means by which intracellular calcium levels are modulated. In addition, aberrant activation of CRAC channels in pancreatic acinar cells is thought to play a key role in the pathobiology of acute pancreatitis.
About CalciMedica, Inc.
CalciMedica is the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on CRAC channel drug discovery and development, seeking novel drugs for the treatment of acute or chronic diseases in which inflammation plays a role. For example, CRAC channels control calcium entry that is essential for the adaptive immune response, and this pathway has been clinically validated as an important drug target in humans through the use of calcineurin inhibitors that act downstream from CRAC channels. For more information, please visit the company website at www.calcimedica.com.
Michael Dunn, President