Tranzyme Pharma is refocusing efforts on TZP-102, it’s diabetic gastroparesis drug treatment, after the failure of it’s flagship drug Ulimorelin.

Tranzyme Pharma & the FDA were not happy with the results of the Phase III trial results for Ulimorelin. Ulimorelin is similar to Tranzyme’s other drug TZP-102, in that it uses a ghrelin receptor agonist to stimulate motility in the gut. The drug was meant to treat people with delayed gastrointenstinal recovery / post operative ileus which is most often associated with gastrointestinal or gynecological surgery.

Currently the only drug available for delayed GI recovery/post operative ileus appears to be Enetereg(Alvimopan) by Cubist Pharmaceuticals. It is a mu-opioid receptor antagonists, which looks to be designed more to block the effects of opioid based painkillers, which often have a constipating effect & can cause bowel obstructions in patients who are recovering from such surgeries. Enetereg is for short term use and does appear to have risks & side effects associated with it, some of which could be serious such as increased risk for heart attack.

Ulimorelin was meant to accelerate motility in the gut allowing people to move to solid foods & leave the hospital quicker. Unfortunately the official Phase III trial results did not show improvement over placebo. One analyst thinks that there may have been issues with how the results were interpreted & that Ulimorelin may not have been useless after all.

Another set of Phase III results should be made available at the end of the Q2 2012, however Tranzyme is apparently sweeping Ulimorelin under the rug and moving their focus over to TZP-102. Tranzyme took a hammering on their stock when the Ulimorelin results became public, losing almost 50% of their value. They are on the rebound though & hopefully will have better results with TZP-102.

I’ve covered Tranzyme’s TZP-102 before but the basics are that it stimulate’s receptors that are in charge of releasing the hormone ghrelin into the gut. Ghrelin can stimulate the gut and helps us feel hungry.