Grifols increases its collaboration with the Chronic Liver Failure European Consortium


11.07.2013
  • The company will contribute three million euros over the next four years, in addition to the two million committed since 2009
  • Research mainly focuses on developing new therapeutic strategies to improve the quality of life and survival of patients with decompensated cirrhosis, for whom the only treatment currently available is a liver transplant
  • The Consortium was created in 2009 and is made up of 70 European university hospitals. It has helped to develop a project involving 2,149 patients that has defined the diagnostic criteria, prevalence, clinical course, prognosis and pathophysiology of a new syndrome: Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure.
  • The core study in the project was published in the journal Gastroenterology* and the database and biological samples obtained are being used in more than 30 research projects to complete knowledge of the syndrome

 

Barcelona, July 10, 2013. Today Grifols has renewed its 2009 collaboration agreement with the Chronic Liver Failure European Consortium (EASL-CLIF Consortium ) for a further four years.

Under this renewal, Grifols will increase its financial contribution to the project with three million euros, in addition to the two million allocated since 2009. According to Vicente Arroyo, professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona and director of the Esther Koplowitz Biomedical Research Center at the Hospital Clinic, "This contribution, since it started in 2009, has helped to develop a powerful research infrastructure to conduct clinical and therapeutic studies in large series of patients in a short period of time. This makes it very competitive and allows research on decompensated liver cirrhosis, up to now very limited, to progress rapidly. Liver cirrhosis is the fifth cause of death in males between 18 and 59 years of age in Europe. Grifols has been a pioneer in supporting clinical research in this disease."

For Mauro Bernardi, professor of medicine at the University of Bologna and member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) "The renewal of this agreement will allow EASL-CLIF Consortium to start new prospective clinical studies in the treatment of decompensated cirrhosis. Two of these will start soon: one on the use of albumin in the prevention of acute-on-chronic liver failure in patients with cirrhosis and bacterial infections other than spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and a second study on the use of hydrocortisone in the treatment of relative adrenal insufficiency in patients with liver disease and septic shock. These studies are expected to provide clinicians with effective therapies to counteract severe complications that endanger the survival of patients with cirrhosis. This is of utmost importance in the context of liver transplantation, where the availability of new treatments that can bridge the gap prior to surgery offers patients an enhanced chance of survival."

The Consortium is supported by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and involves the participation of 70 European hospitals in 24 countries.

With the renewal of the collaboration agreement, Grifols reaffirms its commitment and support to research and investigation by encouraging projects related to its activity that are led by international centers of reference in their specialty. Likewise, the company also collaborates with the North American Consortium for the End-Stage Liver Disease, a research consortium with similar aims to the European entity that operates in the USA and Canada.

Grifols commitment to research on liver disease

Grifols allocated more than 124 million euros to R&D projects in 2012. The treatment of liver disease using plasma-derived proteins such as albumin is one of the research priorities of the company. In addition to collaborations with external groups of worldwide reference, Grifols sponsors several clinical trials in hepatology including the usefulness of albumin in patients with advanced cirrhosis and ascites. In addition, the company is starting a new line of research that examines the therapeutic properties of albumin unrelated to its role as a volume expander. According to Victor Grifols, CEO of Grifols, "The achievements made by the Consortium in its first four years and the benefits that are starting to appear for patients with liver cirrhosis have encouraged us to intensify our collaboration with this prestigious international group of researchers to enable them to complete these ambitious and outstanding projects soon."

About decompensated liver failure

In liver failure, decompensation occurs when patients suffer complications relating to the functional failure of the liver. This is characterized by the formation of ascites, gastrointestinal bleeding, spontaneous bacterial infections and hepatic encephalopathy.

Recent investigation indicates that decompensated liver failure is an extremely complex disorder which, apart from liver failure, can give rise to the failure of other organs and systems such as the cardiovascular system, coagulation, kidney function, intestinal antibacterial function and the immune system, brain function and the adrenal cortex function.

The probability of survival after decompensation of the illness is short, and the only treatment available is a timely liver transplantation. Unfortunately transplants can only be conducted for two in every ten patients due to the disproportion between the number of potential recipients and the number of donors. For this reason it is essential to develop new therapeutic strategies that will improve the quality of life and survival of these patients.

Liver cirrhosis is a very frequent illness. It is the eighth cause of death in people between 18 and 59 years of age and it is particularly prevalent in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and especially in Eastern European countries. It is estimated that 200,000 people die each year from this illness in developed countries.

About Grifols

Grifols is a global healthcare company with a 70-year legacy of improving people's health and well being through the development of life-saving plasma medicines, hospital pharmacy products and diagnostic technology for clinical use.

As a leading producer of plasma medicines, Grifols has a presence in more than 100 countries and is the world leader in plasma collection, with 150 plasma donation centers across the U.S.  Grifols is committed to increasing patient access to its life-saving plasma medicines through significant manufacturing expansions and the development of new therapeutic applications of plasma proteins. The company is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain and employs more than 11,000 people worldwide.

In 2012, Grifols' sales exceeded 2,620 million euros. The company's class A shares are listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange, where they are part of the Ibex-35 (MCE:GRF).  Its non-voting class B shares are listed on the Mercado Continuo (MCE:GRF.P) and on the U.S. NASDAQ via ADRs (NASDAQ: GRFS). For more information visit www.grifols.com

* Gastroenterlogy journal is ranked number 1 among digestive diseases journals.