UAG peptide analog improves glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Alize Pharma completed a €3.3 million (roughly $4.1 million) round of financing with its main existing shareholders to enable it to bring lead candidate AZP-531 into Phase I clinical trials. The peptide drug is an unacylated ghrelin (UAG) analog in development for the treatment of type II diabetes, and potentially other metabolic disorders including Prader Willi syndrome. Alize plans to take AZP-531 through initial clinical trials and then partner the candidate for later-stage development.

Alize Pharma is a group of privately held biopharmaceutical companies focused on developing biopharmaceuticals, proteins, and peptides for the treatment of metabolic diseases and cancer. Alize Pharma is developing AZP-531, the first candidate to emerge from the UAG program, which has been developed in collaboration with Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, and the University of Turin. Alize says available preclinical and clinical data suggest that UAG and its analogs demonstrate a novel mechanisms of action that include reduced circulating levels of acylated ghrelin, improved glucose control, insulin-sensitization, trophic effect on beta cells, reduced fat mass deposition, and positive effects on vascular remodeling and recovery following ischemia.

“The mechanism of action of AZP-531 may lead to improved glycemia control in type II diabetes and also to positive effects on other cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, dyslipidemia, and vascular complications,” comments AJ van der Lely, M.D., head of the clinical endocrinology department at Erasmus Medical Center and Alize’s scientific advisor. “In addition, it could be used to target clinical conditions where acylated ghrelin levels are abnormally high, such as the Prader Willi syndrome, thus opening up a new treatment option for these patients.”

Alize Pharma II is dedicated to developing Asparec, is a PEGylated recombinant Erwinia chrysanthemi-derived L-asparaginase in development as a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients who have hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived L-asparaginase. Asparec is currently in Phase I development by EUSA Pharma (now Jazz Pharmaceuticals), which negotiated exclusive, worldwide development and commercialization rights to the drug in February.

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