Brandon Capital backs new diabetes treatment

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An orally administered treatment for type 2 diabetes, which is designed to mirror the effect of gastric bypass surgery in improving sugar control in diabetes patients, has received a Series A investment of $29 million.

The funding round for biopharmaceutical company, Glyscend Therapeutics, was led by Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and US healthcare investor, Santé Ventures, with support from Breakout Labs, a fund in the Thiel Foundation, owned by PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel.

Glyscend’s therapy mimics the impact of gastric bypass surgery in improving sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes but without the risk associated with invasive surgery.

Developing Glyscend’s polymer technology has to date been a global collaboration between researchers from The Johns Hopkins University Hospital in the US and two of the world’s leading diabetes and metabolic experts, Professor Michael Horowitz and Professor Chris Rayner, from the Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health, based at the University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“This is yet another great example of our world-class Australian researchers contributing their expertise to global health research and development,” said Dr Bob Soh, director at Glyscend and Investment Manager at Brandon Capital Partners. “Professors Horowitz and Rayner were sought out to participate in the early development of Glyscend’s program, and I am pleased that they will be leading the first-in-human clinical trials next year in Adelaide.”

“It’s fantastic to be part of a global team tackling such a significant health issue, in such a novel way,” said Professor Horowitz. “In the case of gastric bypass surgery, some T2D patients are essentially ‘cured’ due to the diversion of intestinal contents away from the upper gastrointestinal tract. With Glyscend’s non-absorbable pill we aim to recreate the same profound effect, in a way that is safe and easy to administer. Initial results are extremely promising."

“By having intestinal contents bypass the upper gut, we can induce a dramatic change in hormonal signalling resulting in improved blood glucose control. This pill has the potential to revolutionise how we treat type 2 diabetes,” added Professor Rayner.

“The statistics around type 2 diabetes are extremely concerning and we desperately need additional treatment options for this escalating problem,” continued Dr Soh. “Over one million Australians, and 500 million people globally, live with type 2 diabetes, which caused four million deaths last year alone. Current therapies, including pills and injectable treatments, often fail to maintain target glucose levels. This is why we are so excited about the potential of Glyscend’s treatment.”

“The world class expertise and facilities, coupled with an attractive research and development ecosystem are why we intend to conduct our first-in-human trials in Adelaide,” says Ashish Nimgaonkar MD, CEO of Glyscend. “I am delighted with the research collaboration to date and am looking forward to initiating our clinical trials next year,” said Dr Nimgaonkar.