Healthcare Industry News:  duodenal ulcer 


 News Release - January 8, 2007

Horizon Therapeutics Announces Special Protocol Assessment With FDA for Phase 3 Trial Program

Clinical Trials for 'GI-Friendly' NSAID to Begin in First Half of 2007

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 8 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Horizon Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has reached agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via a Special Protocol Assessment for the Phase 3 trial program of HZT-501, its "GI-friendly" prescription NSAID for mild-to-moderate pain relief.

The SPA agreement indicates that if the trials successfully meet their primary endpoint, the data will provide support for an efficacy claim in a marketing application to the FDA. The two trials are expected to begin patient enrollment in the first half of this year.

HZT-501 is a proprietary formulation of the world's most prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen, combined with the most potent H2 receptor antagonist famotidine, in a single pill. HZT-501 is specifically designed to provide pain relief while reducing stomach acidity during the peak time of risk for ulceration. In a randomized pilot clinical study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (Taha, et. al May 1996), famotidine was demonstrated to significantly reduce the incidence of gastric and duodenal ulcers vs. placebo when administered with NSAIDs.

"While NSAID's provide excellent pain relief, they can cause serious gastrointestinal side effects such as ulcers," said Dr. Loren Laine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. "This is an important medical issue, especially given data from studies that suggest that many patients at risk do not receive appropriate therapy. HZT-501 was designed with the specific goal of decreasing the GI injury associated with NSAID's."

Phase 3 Clinical Study

The Phase 3 program will comprise two trials involving a total of 1,200 patients with mild-to-moderate pain, including patients with osteoarthritis. Horizon Protocol HZ-CA-301 and HZ-CA-303 will evaluate the efficacy and safety of HZT-501 with a primary endpoint of reduction in the risk of development of ibuprofen-associated upper gastrointestinal ulcers in patients who require the use of ibuprofen.

The clinical trials will be multi-center, randomized, controlled, and blinded for up to 24 weeks of treatment, followed by a 4 week safety evaluation period. The studies will be conducted in the United States.

Horizon has successfully completed product development and early supportive clinical studies on HZT-501 necessary to begin Phase 3 trials including PK/PD formulation design, drug-drug interaction, and comparative bioavailability of HZT-501 to approved reference drug products.

"The SPA is a major milestone that solidifies what we believe is a clearly defined development and regulatory pathway to address this significant unmet medical need," said George F. Tidmarsh, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Horizon Therapeutics. "In addition to HZT-501, we are building a pipeline of therapies through similar combinations of existing pharmaceutical products that offer the potential for rapid development and commercialization with relatively low risk."


In the May 30, 1996 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, an article, "Famotidine for the Prevention of Gastric and duodenal ulcers Caused by Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs" was published by Taha, et. al. The study was a randomized, controlled trial including 285 arthritis patients. The primary endpoint was the measurement of the cumulative incidence of endoscopically diagnosed gastric and duodenal ulcers at 4, 12 and 24 weeks in patients treated with an NSAID alone vs. those treated with NSAID plus a total daily dose of either 40mg or 80mg of famotidine.

The cumulative incidence of gastric ulcers was 20% in the NSAID-alone group and 8% in the 40-mg BID (twice daily) famotidine plus NSAID group (p = 0.03). The cumulative incidence of duodenal ulcers was 13% in the NSAID-alone group and 2% in the 40-mg BID famotidine plus NSAID group (p = 0.01). There were also significantly lower rates of gastric and duodenal ulceration when analyzed separately and when combined (28% for the NSAID-alone group vs. 11% for the 40-mg BID famotidine plus NSAID group; p = 0.003).

About the Pain Market

HZT-501 targets the widespread product void in the mild-to-moderate pain market left by COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx®, which have either been taken off the market or prescribed less frequently due to elevated cardiovascular risk. In 2005, the U.S. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) market grew over 20 percent to 73 million prescriptions. Over 26 million ibuprofen prescriptions are now written annually in the U.S. alone.

However, while commonly prescribed to treat pain, NSAIDs have been linked to serious gastrointestinal (GI) side effects in up to 25 percent of all chronic arthritis patients. NSAID-induced GI toxicity causes an estimated 16,000 deaths and more than 100,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States. Despite this, studies have shown that as low as 30% of high-risk patients are commonly co-prescribed a gastro-protective agent in combination with their NSAID to prevent or relieve side effects. In addition, patient adherence to a regimen of separate GI and pain medications has also been shown to be poor.

About Horizon Therapeutics

Horizon Therapeutics, Inc. is a late stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the rapid development and commercialization of therapeutic treatments for mild-to-moderate pain management. The Company is building a novel portfolio of therapies through innovative combinations of approved pharmaceutical products that seek to improve safety, efficacy, and patient compliance. Its lead product candidate, HZT-501, will enter Phase 3 trials in 2007. In addition to HZT-501, Horizon has a pipeline of follow-on pain combination products in earlier stages of development. For more information visit

Source: Horizon Therapeutics

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