Turning natural peptides into convient & effective medicines
Christian Grøndahl, Zealand Pharma
Unlike next-gen sequencing, turning a peptide into a drug is a process with slow turn arounds, and can take years.
Zealand Pharma – recent IPO, near copenhagen.
Peptide of interest is from a lizard, and has been used for Type II diabetes.
Company Strategy: Goal is to become profitable. [of course!] Focus on peptide based drugs, and partnering with large pharma to get drugs to market. Local focus – interest in staying in Zealand.
Outline of clinical strategy – [there are a billion slides on the web about how this works.] How to turn a research candidate into a drug.
Pipeline: Lyxumia GLP-1 is in Phase III with Sanofi-Aventis, other pipelines in phase 1.
Obesity: 1 billion people are overweight, 300 million are obese. Rates are increasing everywhere. Type II diabetes is one consequence. [over simplified version of why people get fat. Basically, my interpretation of the slide is that drug companies can’t make you do exercise or eat better, but they can work to treat the problems you’ll get.]
Huge projections for how many people will be obese in the future. 2.3 billion people will be overweight by 2014.
Diabetes is a major cause of morbidity. Causes blindness, renal failure, lower limb amputation and cardiovascular disease. 5% of deaths globally.
Treatment trends: Lifestyle changes, oral anti-diabetics, GLP-1s. Ultimately, Insulin is required. New peptide biotech provides therapies that delays time to dependence on insulin.
[Review of how GLP-1 works. Induces a glucose-dependent secretion of insulin, etc.]
Glucagon and Insulin are antagonists.
Designed a drug, ZP2929. “Has been shown to improve glycemic control and to incur superior and sustained weight loss compared to GLP-1 receptor agonists.” Thus, treats diabetes AND obesity.
Patent protection until 2030 + 5 year extension.
The company also has other ideas and items in the pipeline. Some listed on a slide. Basically trying to exploit new technologies and avenues. However, anything they start working on now won’t be available for at least 10-12 years.
[I tend not to take complete notes on talks that are clearly promotional. I feel that company reps can do a better job explaining their pipeline than I can.]