In the 1980s, Sucampo’s founder discovered the therapeutic potential of a class of naturally occurring compounds called prostones.
The elucidation that prostones, which are natural metabolites of prostaglandins (PG) that have no remaining clinically relevant activity towards PG receptors but instead are selective and potent activators of ion channels, revealed their potential in targeting treatment for an array of human diseases.
This discovery resulted in approvals of lubiprostone for treatment of chronic constipation, chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adults, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adult women and opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in adults with chronic non-cancer pain (click on the region to review the prescribing information for the approved indication).
Characterized by the difficult or infrequent passage of stool, often accompanied by straining or a sensation of incomplete evacuation, constipation is a common complaint for many people. It has been shown to significantly impair patients’ quality of life.
Sucampo developed the compound now known as lubiprostone, brand name AMITIZA, a synthetic analogue of natural prostones, which had been optimized to carry all necessary characteristics to be used as a medicinal product. Lubiprostone is a locally acting activator of the ClC-2 chloride channel that increases intestinal fluid secretion, facilitates stool passage, stimulates recovery of mucosal barrier function and reduces intestinal permeability. Thus AMITIZA has a different mechanism of action from other products, such as fiber and laxatives.
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Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development and commercialization of specialized medicines that meet major unmet medical needs of patients worldwide. Sucampo has two marketed products – AMITIZA, its lead product, and RESCULA – and a late-stage pipeline of product candidates in clinical development for orphan disease areas. VTS-270 is a mixture of 2-hydroxypropyl-B-cyclodextrins with a specific compositional fingerprint that has been granted orphan designation in the U.S. and Europe and is in a pivotal Phase 2/3 clinical trial for the treatment of Niemann-Pick Disease Type C-1. Sucampo has an option for the North American rights to CPP1- x/sulindac, which is in Phase 3 development for the treatment of familial adenomatous polyposis and has been granted orphan drug designation in the U.S. A global company, Sucampo is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, and has operations in Japan and Switzerland.