Late-Breaking Dynamic Duo: Tackling Diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes is expected to reach more than 592 million people worldwide by 2035. Type 2 diabetes (T2D)—characterized by insulin resistance and elevated glucose levels—accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of the cases of diagnosed diabetes in the United States.

If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, combined with facts include that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease; 80 percent of people with T2D are overweight; and more children and teens are developing T2D—likely the result of obesity and inactivity—then what we have is an unrelenting health threat.

These and other issues that surround diabetes and its multiple comorbidities will be much discussed at the American Diabetes Association 76th Scientific Sessions. We’re very pleased to present several abstracts, and in particular two late-breakers, on two of our early stage research molecules: MEDI0382 and MEDI4166 that are being investigated to evaluate their potential benefit for T2D patients.

MEDI0382: Dual-peptide punch

I’ll start first with MEDI0382, an example of exquisite engineering by our Cambridge-based peptide team in Antibody Development and Protein Engineering (ADPE). MEDI0382 is an investigational GLP-1/GCG co-agonist and our first dual-peptide molecule that impacts insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. It is hypothesized that where GLP-1 increases insulin secretion and promotes some weight loss, GCG works in cooperation with insulin to keep the concentration of blood glucose levels consistent.  Both are components in a physiological system that helps control blood glucose, and our goal of balancing their activity may result in metabolic benefits. From what we’ve seen so far in early clinical studies this may help facilitate glycemic control and may impact weight loss - a key unmet need in the management of T2D.

MEDI4166: A potentially therapeutic combination in one molecule

MEDI4166 is a clever combination molecule comprising a GLP-1 analog linked to an anti-proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) antibody that is designed to act on both glucose control and cholesterol in one molecule. Based on research within our laboratories, our pre-clinical data indicates MEDI4166 may impact glycemic control and suppression of PCSK9, which is clinically validated for potent LDL-lowering effects supporting its development as a potential treatment for T2D patients prone to cardiovascular disease.

For millions of people who have diabetes, and the millions more who will be diagnosed in the next couple of decades, MEDI0382 and MEDI4166 have the potential for tangible therapeutic promise.

It’s a dynamic duo that could help to ameliorate this major health threat.