Sequana Medical receives Breakthrough Device designation from the FDA for its alfapump®

Sequana Medical NV, a commercial stage medical device company focused on the development of innovative treatment solutions for the management of liver disease, heart failure, malignant ascites and other fluid imbalance disorders, announces today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Device designation for the alfapump® for the treatment of liver recurrent or refractory ascites.

The FDA’s Breakthrough Devices Program is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of devices that provide more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions, and to provide patients and healthcare providers with timely access to these medical devices. Devices that receive this designation are eligible for more frequent interactions with the FDA’s experts to identify areas of agreement in a timely way and are eligible for prioritized review of the submission package to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S.

Ascites, a key complication of liver cirrhosis, is the accumulation of ascitic fluid in the abdomen. Patients may accumulate as much as 10 to 15 litres of ascitic fluid within the abdomen every 15 days. Patients suffering from liver recurrent or refractory ascites have limited treatment options and often have severely impacted quality of life due to the severe swelling of the abdomen, resulting in pain, difficulty breathing, moving, sleeping and eating, severe nausea and constipation. Existing treatment options carry the risk of significant or life-threatening side effects, provide only short-term symptomatic relief or have very limited availability.

The alfapump® is a fully-implanted, programmable, wireless, CE-marked system that automatically pumps ascites from the peritoneal cavity into the bladder, where the body eliminates the ascites naturally through urination. The potential of the alfapump® to address this unmet medical need in patients with liver recurrent or refractory ascites has been demonstrated in multiple clinical studies showing a significant reduction in the need for large volume paracentesis, which is paracentesis where at least 5 litres of fluid is removed (i.e., the current standard of care), and a significant improvement in patients’ quality of life.

A feasibility study in North America in patients with liver refractory or recurrent ascites has been completed and results were presented at the AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) annual meetings in October 2017 and November 2018. Preparations are underway to start a North American pivotal study in the second half of this year for approval of the alfapump® in North America.

Dr Patrick S. Kamath, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine and Science Rochester MN commented:

“This is encouraging news for patients and their families. Patients suffering from recurrent or refractory ascites currently have limited treatment options. Ascites significantly reduces quality of life and requires frequent visits to a medical facility for treatment. The alfapump® treats ascites at home without the risk of hepatic encephalopathy and is associated with improved quality of life. The designation of FDA Breakthrough Device status for the alfapump® could make a much needed effective treatment of refractory or recurrent ascites available sooner for doctors and their patients.”

Ian Crosbie, Chief Executive Officer at Sequana Medical, added:

“The designation of Breakthrough Device status by the FDA is a recognition both of the high unmet medical need in patients with recurrent or refractory ascites and the potential for the alfapump® to improve the lives of these patients. The forecast growth in liver cirrhosis resulting from NASH makes the need for improved treatments all the more important. We look forward to continuing to work with the FDA to expedite the development process and bring the alfapump® to U.S. patients as quickly as possible.”

Update regarding the status of the Initial Public Offering on Euronext Brussels:

The administrative process for the move of Sequana Medical’s business from Switzerland to Belgium has been completed. Meanwhile, the IPO preparations continue being progressed according to plan, and the Company will provide a further update on the IPO process in due course.