Prize-winning journalist and founder of the popular biotechnology website www.pharmalot.com, Ed Silverman authored an article today on Ventrus Biosciences (NASDAQ: ZTUS) titled, “A Little Company Tackles A Big Pain In The Butt.” While the title was catchy and done in a bit of light manner, Mr. Silverman did a great job in capturing the relevance of what Ventrus is striving to achieve with their lead drug, Inferanserin (VEN 309), a new chemical entity for the topical treatment of hemorrhoids. The drug targets a specific serotonin receptor (5HT2A) believed to be important in the control of the often-times painful ailment.
While hemorrhoids may be the “butt of the joke” (excuse the pun) to many people, it should not be. Especially considering the unfortunate odds that the jokester will one day suffer from the painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus; given the fact that approximately 75 percent of the population will have hemorrhoids to some degree in their life.
Bringing two sides to the table to maintain an unbiased approach, Russ Ellison, CEO of Ventrus was quoted first and explained why Inferanserin is so unique to hemorrhoid therapy in stating, “There are no drugs out there approved for this right now and I can’t find any published clinical data to support the use of any over-the-counter product.”
Careful to note that the product may quickly gain popularity if granted FDA approval, Mr. Silverman pointed out that there is still a progression that has to be followed for Ventrus to prove Inferanserin’s efficacy. Jack Pffenninger, a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, was quoted as stating, “There’s nothing out there to treat or shrink down veins, but I want to see results of good studies. I applaud them for going after the idea. It’s a smart move, but what we really need is to see consistency. There’s a lot of snake oil out there. They’ve got to get the studies in there.”
Ventrus is in late-stage development of three drugs focused exclusively on gastroenterology (GI), one of which is VEN309. The Company’s other drugs in Phase II clinical trials that have been showing great promise are VEN307 for anal fissures, and VEN308 for fecal incontinence. Granted, the subject may be a bit of a joke to those looking for a cheap laugh, but those people should know several things are certain: it won’t be funny if it happens to them with no reliable therapy; and the revenues that can be generated by monopolizing this niche market is no laughing matter.
The complete article can be read on the Pharmalot website at http://www.pharmalot.com/2011/02/a-little-company-tackles-a-big-pain-in-the-butt
More info on Ventrus and its drugs in development can be found at www.ventrusbio.com