NGM will exploit discovery platform to identify targets and potential drug candidates.

Daiichi Sankyo and NGM Biopharmaceuticals established a research collaboration and license agreement to develop therapeutics that modulate beta-cell regeneration, for the potential treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. NGM will use its discovery technology and in vivo screening platform to identify and validate metabolic targets that modulate beta-cell growth and function. The two firms will then jointly work to validate targets and identify and optimize drug candidates. Daiichi Sankyo will have responsibility for preclinical studies, clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of products worldwide, and retains a global license to all products developed through the collaboration.

The Japanese firm will in return pay NGM an up-front fee and research funding, plus development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, and sales royalties. “NGM has developed a robust translational research platform based on human biology that is capable of discovering novel drug targets,” remarks Jim-Long Chen, Ph.D., NGM’s CSO, president and co-founder. “We look forward to applying our technology to the emerging area of beta-cell regeneration.”

California-based NGM is exploiting a high-throughput platform for the discovery of biologics against cardiometabolic diseases including diabetes, obesity, and muscle wasting. The approach combines bioinformatics with animal disease models and a system for assessing the physiological activity of potential targets in animal models, including a gene delivery system for the expression or knockdown of specific proteins in designated tissues.

NGM’s in-house type 2 diabetes program is focused on identifying novel targets and biological pathways that are involved in the apparent resolution of type 2 diabetes in obese patients who undergo gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery. Recent research has indicated that bariatric surgery has a direct positive effect on glucose homeostasis that is independent of weight loss. Studies in human patients and rodent models have demonstrated that the pattern of gastrointestinal hormone secretion is markedly changed after surgery, indicating that restoration of glucose homeostasis occurs is an endocrine mechanism.

NGM’s strategy is thus to develop targeted drugs that mimic the effects of bariatric surgery. The firm is exploiting its platform to identify the hormones, receptors, and other metabolic factors that are involved in systemic glucose homeostasis and play a causative role in type 2 diabetes. The firm has established surgical models of gastrointestinal bypass to allow in vivo gastrointestinal studies both pre- and post-surgery. NGM is separately exploiting the same approach through a collaboration with the diabetes organization JDRF to discover biologic targets and drugs for type 1 diabetes.

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