Circassia has acquired the North American and Japanese rights to dopexamine, which aids patient recovery after surgery, from the French drugmaker Ipsen.

Dopexamine is a beta-2 adrenoceptor and dopamine receptor agonist, which is approved in Europe in indications related to heart failure but it has yet to get the thumbs-up in the USA, Canada or Japan.
The Oxford-based firm says that it is developing dopexamine in a new indication using its ToleroCare technology which combines the drug with the administration of intravenous fluids to improve tissue oxygenation levels during the recovery period after surgery.

Circassia claims that “he precise use of fluids and dopexamine is based on carefully defined parameters such as heart stroke volume and oxygen delivery index”. It adds that ToleroCare therapy has already achieved proof-of-concept in a Phase II trial in 122 high-risk general surgery patients in the UK.

Specifically the study showed that significantly fewer patients who received ToleroCare experienced complications in the 30 day period following surgery compared with those on standard treatment (44% vs 68%). In addition, ToleroCare patients recovered significantly quicker, staying in hospital for 17.5 days on average compared with 29.5 days for those who received standard therapy.

Circassia has also entered into agreements with Excella and Hospira to establish a commercial-scale supply chain for the product. Chief executive Steve Harris noted that with “825,000 high-risk surgical procedures carried out each year in the USA, and the high cost associated with hospital stays, ToleroCare is targeting a major market opportunity".

He added dopexamine provides Circassia with a further Phase II programme “that fits well with our outsourced business model”. By “establishing a commercial-scale supply chain for dopexamine, we are well positioned to rapidly progress ToleroCare to market", Mr Harris concluded.