Sirona Biochem’s technology platform of enhancing carbohydrate-based molecules has potential for the development of several blockbuster therapeutics for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, pain and inflammation. Currently, our therapeutic focus is on the development of a Sodium Glucose Transporter (SGLT) inhibitor for Type 2 diabetes and a cancer vaccine antigen.
Sodium Glucose Transporter (SGLT) Inhibitors – Diabetes & Obesity
Sirona Biochem is developing SGLT-2 inhibitors for Type 2 diabetes and obesity. SGLT inhibitors are a new class of drugs for diabetes and obesity. They work differently from traditional Type 2 diabetes therapeutics which increase insulin production in the pancreas and affect metabolism. In the kidneys, SGLT inhibitors reduce the reabsorption of glucose into the bloodstream by eliminating excess glucose into the urine.
The kidneys filter approximately 180 gm of glucose per day from the blood which is then mostly reabsorbed back into the blood by SGLT transporters. SGLT Inhibitors inhibit the glucose reabsorption process, such that excess glucose is excreted in the urine, rather than reabsorbed into the bloodstream. That is to say, they can help regulate glycemia. This is a new promising potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Sirona Biochem’s goal is to develop a best-in-class SGLT inhibitor for Type 2 diabetes. By applying our proprietary chemistry technique, we believe we can produce a drug candidate with optimal pharmaceutical characteristics including but not limited to enhanced stability, bioavailability, selectivity and/or efficacy.
There are no SGLT-2 inhibitors available on the market. The most advanced SGLT inhibitor, dapagliflozin developed by Bristol Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, recently received market approval by the Food & Drug Administration and is expected to be launched in 2012. In a comparative preclinical study, Sirona Biochem’s SGLT inhibitor drug candidate appeared to outperform dapagliflozin. Sirona Biochem aims to develop an improved product.
Preclinical animal tests of Sirona Biochem’s SGLT-2 inhibitor for Type 2 diabetes are well underway with the positive results posted in the first quarter of 2011. Additional preclinical studies to test the safety and toxicology of this SGLT inhibitor are currently being conducted. Sirona Biochem plans to independently complete preclinical studies to prepare its SGLT inhibitor for human clinical trials. A pharmaceutical partner will be sought for clinical and commercial development of our program.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 220 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. Approximately 90% of diabetes patients suffer from Type 2 diabetes. The WHO estimates that diabetes-related deaths will double from 2005 to 2030. In 2009, an estimated $25 billion was spent globally on diabetes treatment. Diabetes is the fourth largest pharmaceutical market.
In Canada, diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that by 2020, one in ten Canadian will have diabetes. It’s estimated that diabetes costs the Canadian healthcare system more than $12 billion a year.
With sedentary lifestyles becoming so common, the prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly. While there are several medications on the market, there remains a major unmet medical need for new improved diabetes medications. Sales of Januvia, a diabetes medication launched in 2006, reached US$1.6 billion in annual sales by 2009. By 2013, it’s estimated sales of Januvia will reach US$4.5 billion.
Sirona Biochem has formulated an antigen that could be valuable as a key component for the development of a cancer vaccine.
In healthy individuals, certain antigens are suppressed by the body’s immune system. In patients with cancer, research has shown that a higher presence of these antigens on the cell surface are linked to higher malignancy and growth. These antigens promote cancer cell adhesion and thus are linked to cancer metastases, allowing cancer to spread from one organ to another. By producing a synthetic version of the antigen it can be used in a vaccine that can potentially trigger the immune system to recognize it as a foreign substance. Previous attempts by scientists to develop a vaccine with this antigen have been unsuccessful due to the chemistry challenges in stabilizing the molecule.