Norgine’s new bowel-cleansing preparation, Moviprep, is significantly more effective than Fleet’s market leader Phospho-soda in preparing the bowel before colonoscopy, according to a large randomised study reported yesterday at the United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) in Berlin.

Both preparations were generally well tolerated and most adverse events were mild. However, based on blinded assessment by expert reviewers, the rate of successful gut cleansing was 93.4% for the Moviprep group compared to 22.8% for the Phospho-soda group. Patients were also significantly more likely to rate the taste of Moviprep as good or satisfactory and were more likely to be willing to take it again if they needed another colonoscopy.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Europe and the USA and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of death from cancer. About 90% of bowel cancer deaths could be prevented through early detection and, by enabling the bowel to be visually examined, colonoscopy has become the gold-standard screening investigation. Rates of colonoscopy are set to rise still further, as several countries - including the USA, France, Germany and now the UK- have introduced national screening programmes.

The results of this study are an important win for Norgine, as a Mayo

Clinic study suggests that as many as 25% of colonoscopies have to be repeated because of ineffective bowel cleansing. This is because it is possible to miss a cancer if only 5% of the bowel cannot be seen, and this applies in particular to the flat lesions that are twice as likely as polyp-like lesions to progress to cancer.

Moviprep received European approval in January 2006, following by go-ahead from the FDA in August 2006 - an important first US marketing approval for the company.

Sue Lyon