Innovent & Lilly Set to Transform Diabetes Medication as Clinical Trials Begin
Innovent Biologics, Inc. recently signed a licensing agreement with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), one of America’s leading pharmaceutical companies, for the development and potential commercialization of oxyntomodulin analog, OXM3, in China. The treatment would enter China as a best-in-class, mid-stage clinical development diabetes compound, and if commercialized, could significantly increase the affordability and manageability of the disease.
Oxyntomodulin is a naturally occurring gut hormone that is derived from post-translational processing of preproglucagon in the gut. As one of the primary regulators of insulin, glucagon counterbalances the effects of insulin by converting stored glycogen into glucose. Increased oxyntomodulin has been found to provide improved glucose tolerance in subjects while simultaneously improving insulin resistance and pancreatic function. Much like oxyntomodulin, OXM3 binds to and activates both the glucagon-like peptide one receptor (GLP-1R) and the glucagon receptor (GCGR) in the gut to provide durable glycemic control. Engineered as a long-acting molecule, OXM3 only needs to be injected once per week rather than daily. The molecule also has the potential to serve as an essential therapy for obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
“Innovent is committed to develop and commercialize high-quality biopharmaceuticals that are affordable to ordinary people. This license agreement marks an important step for Innovent as it strengthens our portfolio by adding a potential best-in-class clinical-stage metabolic disease asset, and it broadens the therapeutic areas we cover to include diabetes,” said Michael Yu, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Innovent.
Almost 10% of the population in China — or 110 million people — currently live with diabetes, and more than half of the people have prediabetes, according to the World Health Organization. The rate of diabetes has seen an explosive increase in the past couple of decades in China, with the percentage of Chinese men with diabetes doubling since 1980. In 2018, the number of people who have diabetes in China alone was more significant than the total number of people worldwide living with diabetes in 1980. China’s diabetes epidemic is projected to skyrocket to 150 million by 2040.
Despite its prevalence, the management of the disease still needs to be improved. More than half of all people living with diabetes in China may be undiagnosed, and only a quarter of all people living with diabetes are receiving treatment. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are therefore vital in helping the population manage the disease and prevent the onset of diabetes-related illnesses and premature deaths down the line.
“Diabetes is recognized as the world’s fastest-growing chronic condition. China has a greater number of diabetic patients than any other country in the world, with around 114 million people suffering from the disease. We are excited to license this molecule from Lilly, and we look forward to developing OXM3 as a potential innovative treatment that could address a significant unmet medical need in China,” said Yu.
The partnership is the latest in a string of collaborations between Innovent and Lilly to bring novel world-class treatments to Chinese patients. Over the past half-decade , Innovent has worked closely with Lilly to license cancer treatment antibodies for development, manufacturing and commercialization in China. The two companies also work together on co-development, going from discovery to production and marketization.
Most recently in December 2018, Innovent and Lilly were granted market approval by the National Medical Products Administration of China for their co-developed Tyvyt, a fully human anti-PD-1 therapeutic monoclonal antibody which is used in the treatment of patients with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Some other news on Innovent’s cooperation with Lilly can be found below:
Inspired by the spirit of “Start with Integrity, Succeed through Action,” Innovent’s mission is to develop and commercialize high-quality biopharmaceutical products that are affordable to ordinary people. Established in 2011, Innovent is committed to developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality innovative medicines for the treatment of oncology, autoimmunity and other significant diseases. On October 31, 2018, Innovent was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited with the stock code: 01801.HK.
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