Glyscend Therapeutics commences clinical trial of potential diabetes treatment

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A potential new oral treatment for type 2 diabetes therapy will commence recruitment for a Phase I clinical trial in South Australia following promising preclinical study results.

The treatment, GLY-200, is a pill developed by Glyscend. The company was spun out by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University Hospital in the US, in collaboration with Professors Chris Rayner and Michael Horowitz from the Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health that is based at the University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The company said it has successfully demonstrated promising efficacy and a good safety profile in its pre-clinical studies. It is now seeking healthy volunteers for Phase I trials that are scheduled to commence in August at CMAX in Adelaide.

Gastric bypass surgery works for many people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) due to the diversion of intestinal contents away from the upper gastrointestinal tract. This, together with weight loss due to the lower amounts of calories entering the body, can put type 2 diabetes into remission. However, gastric bypass surgery has limitations.

GLY-200 therapy mimics gastric bypass surgery in improving sugar control in patients with T2D by temporarily augmenting the natural mucus barrier lining in the upper gut and affecting hormonal signalling between the GI tract, liver, pancreas and brain. 

According to Thomas Jozefiak PhD, the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Glyscend, “The results of our pre-clinical studies demonstrated that a daily dose of GLY-200 for 8 weeks significantly reduces the post-meal glucose measurements in diabetic rat models. This improvement was also associated with an improved metabolic profile and weight loss, without a difference in food intake.”

Dr Ashish Nimgaonkar, the president and CEO of Glyscend and a gastroenterologist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, said, This pill has the potential to revolutionise how we treat type 2 diabetes. We are excited to begin recruiting for healthy participants to take part in our clinical trial in South Australia. Our goal is to develop an oral medication that works locally in the gastrointestinal tract to provide the benefits of gastric bypass surgery while greatly reducing the costs, as well as the potential risks and complications.

“Gastric bypass procedures will likely never scale to meet the burgeoning T2D epidemic, due to surgical risks, invasiveness, access and compliance issues, and high cost.”

“The world-class expertise and facilities, coupled with an attractive research and development ecosystem are why Glyscend intends to conduct our first-in-human trials in Adelaide,” said Dr Bob Soh, a director at Glyscend and investment manager at Brandon Capital Partners. “The research collaboration to date has been really successful, and we look forward to initiating our clinical trials in SA soon.”

In June 2020, Glyscend Therapeutics received $29 million Series A investment in a funding round 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 co-founder Peter Thiel.