CalciMedica begins Phase I trials for CRAC channel inhibitor


US-based bio-pharmaceutical company CalciMedica has initiated the Phase I safety studies in healthy volunteers of a new calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channel inhibitor, CM4620, for treating acute pancreatitis.

CRAC channels comprise Orai and regulatory STIM proteins, as well as function to maintain proper levels of calcium in most non-excitable cells. 

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden painful inflammation of the pancreas caused due to a mild disorder, but could be very serious if not treated properly.

In worst-case scenarios it could lead to organ failure and sepsis, where the patient needs to stay at the hospital for an extended period of time in the ICU, and substantial morbidity and even mortality are seen.

"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."

CalciMedica president Michael Dunn 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.”

There are various causes that could lead to acute pancreatitis that can range from alcohol and gall stones, which can be found in the most of the cases, as well as drug reactions and viral infections or local cancers. In some cases it is found to occur as a hereditary disease.

There are currently no disease-modifying therapies available, instead patients receive supportive care, including fluids and pain medication.