BioSpace Global Roundup: Boehringer Ingelheim Launches Weight-Loss Trials for NASH
Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim partnered with Denmark’s Zealand Pharma A/S to study the GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist BI 456906 in two Phase II trials as a potential treatment for adults who are overweight or obese and for adults with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The goal is that once-per-week treatment with the compound can improve NASH conditions through weight loss. BI 456906, which was initially in-licensed by BI from Zealand in 2011, is also being assessed in an ongoing Phase II study in type 2 diabetes.
Waheed Jamal, head of Cardiovascular, Metabolic and Respiratory Medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim, said the company’s cardiometabolic research and development is focused on discovering novel treatments for obesity and NASH in order to meet a large, unmet need among people who are facing these issues.
“We are exploring a number of unique approaches with great potential to help people living with obesity or NASH. We believe dual agonists are next-generation drug candidates with a potential for higher efficacy in weight loss and NASH improvement/cirrhosis prevention,” Jamal said in a statement.
Boehringer Ingelheim and Zealand have a longstanding partnership in the research and development of novel medicines for cardiometabolic diseases. Under the terms of the GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist licensing agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim funds all research, development and commercialization activities.
“By combining GLP-1 and glucagon agonism mechanistically, we believe our dual agonist has the potential to achieve increased weight loss, via improvement of the patient’s metabolism, and also has potential to alleviate NASH by reducing upstream steatosis,” Adam Steensberg, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Zealand Pharma said in a statement. “We are very excited to see the initiation of Phase II trials of BI 456906 for obesity and NASH.”
Elsewhere around the globe:
Antibiotic Research UK – A charitable organization created to tackle bacterial antibiotic resistance, AB UK launched its 2021 Small Research Grants/ Career Development Awards scheme. The charity will award one grant of up to £50,000 and six grants of up to £25,000 each. Grants will focus on antibiotic resistance, new antibiotic therapies, health and societal impact of antibiotic resistance, or antibiotic stewardship. All applications will be reviewed by independent external assessors as well as by members of the Charity’s Science or Education Committees as appropriate. Applicants can find the forms to apply here. Only applicants working in higher education, not-for-profit institutes and non-governmental organizations based in the United Kingdom are eligible to apply.
Dotmatics Ltd. – Also based in the U.K., software and services company Dotmatics has been selected by Arkema, a global leader in specialty materials, as its informatics partner in an R&D digitalization project. The partnership covers 800 users and will last five years. The company will implement Dotmatics’ unified electronic laboratory notebook across Arkema’s research sites in France. The agreement supports Arkema’s project to modernize access to R&D data and reduce design times for new products. The objective is to ensure digital continuity of all experimental data, thus allowing for faster innovation of chemicals and materials driven by statistics, calculation and modeling, and artificial intelligence, according to the announcement. Dotmatics will equip Arkema scientists with a complete ELN solution including experiment capture, entity registration and sample tracking, data retrieval, and full data analytics. The unified platform will accommodate the diversity of Arkema’s workflow across synthetic chemistry, formulation and polymers allowing researchers to trace, share, secure and exploit all their R&D data internally and will facilitate collaboration with external partners.
Intravacc – Netherlands-based Intravacc announced positive preclinical data from its Lyme disease vaccine. Data from the study will be published in the peer-reviewed journal, Vaccine. This study shows that OMV’s expressing Borrelia (lipo)proteins are a promising vaccine concept that might lead to protect humans against Lyme disease. There is no vaccine against Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness common in North America. This study shows that OMV-based vaccines expressing Borrelia (lipo)proteins are an easy and feasible vaccination method protecting against Lyme disease, and could result in a promising prophylactic vaccine for humans.
BioVersys AG – Switzerland’s BioVersys signed a €20 million venture debt transaction with the European Investment Bank. The finances will support the development of the company’s pipeline of antimicrobial-resistant therapies. Its lead asset, BV100, is a breakthrough hospital antibiotic therapy that targets one of the World Health Organization’s top priority pathogens, resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. The drug is currently being studied for the treatment of ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia. Currently, there are little to no effective and safe treatment options for this infection. Due to antibiotic resistance, infections caused by resistant Acinetobacter baumannii have a devastating mortality rate of greater than 50%. Another BioVersys experimental drug is BVL-GSK098, a small molecule that is being tested for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis infections, which is known to be the cause of about 1.5 million deaths annually. Both BV100 and BVL-GSK098 are currently in Phase I clinical trials.
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals – Also based in Switzerland, Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG received a 1.2 million Swiss Franc grant from the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse to advance the development of novel injectable glycopolymers to support better ABO-incompatible (ABOi) transplantation patient outcomes. ABOi transplantation, a procedure to transplant solid organs and stem cells without matching ABO blood groups, has been introduced to decrease recipient waiting time and the strongly associated mortality. Funds will be used to leverage Polyneuron’s Antibody-Catch platform to engineer novel injectable glycopolymers that mimic blood group antigens to remove the specific, relevant antibodies. Removal of the isoagglutinins through the use of glycopolymers, could improve patient outcomes and have a positive impact on patients’ quality of life, the company said.
Medtronic – Ireland-based Medtronic introduced its new Medtronic Extended infusion set, which can be worn for up to seven days. An infusion set is tubing that delivers insulin from the pump to the body and typically requires a set change every few days. This innovation for the new product doubles the length of time an infusion set can be worn by diabetes patients, who can safely stay on insulin pump therapy with fewer interruptions and insertions.