(February 2015 – Meritage Pharma was acquired by Shire plc)
Meritage Pharma is committed to the development of prescription products based on safe and effective molecules for the treatment of gastrointestinal and atopic diseases. Meritage Pharma’s initial product candidate is intended for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis, an allergic inflammation of the esophagus.
Meritage Pharma’s management team has an established track record of building successful specialty pharmaceutical companies and in identifying and developing novel products for atopic diseases. The company was founded in March 2008 and has raised $30.5 million in Series A financing from Domain Associates, Latterell Venture Partners, and The Vertical Group.
What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)?
EoE is an allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus that can cause difficulty in swallowing and heartburn, and in severe cases it can lead to food impaction (food getting stuck in the esophagus) and in children, a failure to thrive (poor growth or weight loss).
EoE is a disorder in which eosinophils, a type of white blood cell involved in allergic reactions, infiltrate the walls of the esophagus. This eosinophil infiltration leads to inflammation of the esophagus and is believed to cause tissue remodeling and fibrosis if left untreated. A variety of stimuli may trigger this allergic process, including certain foods and environmental allergens. Eosinophils are typically found in small quantities in the blood and intestinal tract and participate in maintaining its health. Eosinophilic disorders (whether of the esophagus, stomach, small or large intestine) occur when the cells accumulate in large quantities.
Oral Suspension Budesonide
Budesonide is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in several products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including products for the treatment of pediatric asthma, allergic rhinitis, and Crohn’s disease. Budesonide is a glucocorticoid steroid and has an established safety profile in those diseases and works by decreasing inflammation in the treated area.
Oral suspension budesonide (OBS) is a proprietary oral formulation of budesonide for the potential treatment of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). OBS is designed to coat the esophagus with budesonide in order to treat local eosinophilic inflammation and provide patients symptomatic relief.
The FDA has granted Orphan Drug Status designation to OBS for the treatment of EoE. Orphan designation generally provides Meritage Pharma with market exclusivity for the product for seven years following FDA approval, in addition to other incentives. There are currently no FDA-approved products for the treatment of EoE.
Elaine M. Phillips, PhD – President & CEO
Malcolm R. Hill, PharmD – Chief Scientific Officer
Adam K. Simpson – Chief Business Officer, Treasurer and Secretary
Ranjan Dohil, MD
School of Medicine