Harvard graduates Allurion weight-loss capsule to be sold in Australia

Harvard graduates Allurion weight-loss capsule to be sold in Australia

“We had quite a big advantage being medical students because we could talk to patients and faculty members who were experts in this space.

“We ran our first human clinical trial in 2013. It took a while because the balloon is quite revolutionary. It’s made from a thin film that can be compressed and folded into the capsule, but is stable and hardy enough to be in the stomach for four months. That took quite a bit of RD.”

Allurion has also created an app and a six-month program designed to help people learn healthy eating habits and track their exercise, sleep and general activity. This is designed to help patients then maintain their results after the balloon dissolves.

The company received its first regulatory approval by the European CE Mark approval for its Elipse Balloon in 2015 and was approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration in April last year.

A study of 1623 patients across 19 weight loss centers in 17 countries found that people who used the Elipse Balloon and took part in the program lost on average 12.8 kilograms.

Another study tracking 500 patients over 12 months after the balloon dissolved found 95 per cent maintained their weight loss.

“The balloon is there to help you lose weight initially, but the rest is designed to help you keep it off for a long period of time,” Dr Gaur said.

“Some patients may regain weight, or others may want to lose additional weight, and for those patients they can always come back and get another balloon. Those who do have lost more than 20 per cent of their total body weight.”

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that 67 per cent of Australian adults are obese or overweight, and these numbers are rising.

Allurion’s Elipse Balloons cost up to $7000 and there are no reimbursements under Medicare or private health insurance.

Allurion quietly started work on expanding to Australia last year, signing up Adelaide-based bariatric surgeon Dr George Balalis as its first specialist in the region.

Allurion trains every practitioner and clinical support staff that offers the balloon, and tracks the weight loss outcomes of all patients via its app.

It now has 15 clinics signed up in Australia and Allurion chief commercial officer Benoit Chardon said it has close to 10 people including a director of sales working out of Australia.

“Australia is exactly like our other markets. There is a high rate of obesity… and this innovation is matching patient outcomes – people want a safe and effective product,” he said.

“We are selective when it comes to accounts. We want a certain level of care to be given to patients. In Australia, we’re starting with bariatric surgeons, but we have also seen in other countries that you don’t need to be a bariatric surgeon to deliver best-in-class results.

“What we don’t want is clinics offering this to one patient every three months, we want people who are fully dedicated to it.”

The company has raised $US80 million to date and is backed by the likes of Novalis LifeSciences, Romulus Capital, IDO Investments and ex-Covidien CEO Jose Almeida.

It was ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by the Financial Timesgrowing its revenue from $US3.2 million in 2017 to $US20.5 million in 2020.

“Allurion is creating a totally new category. These are patients who have tried everything else, but surgery, and don’t want a permanent change,” Mr Chardon said.

Dr Gaur said the company estimates that 4.3 per cent of the world’s population would consider using the Elipse Balloon, but the business is also hoping to provide options for people whot do not need to lose as much weight and would benefit just from using its app and six-month program, or who do end up requiring surgery.

“In our vision, the patient is part of the ecosystem, and we connect them to the right type of therapy at the right time. Obesity is a chronic issue that ebbs and flows,” Dr Gaur said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.