Companies are collaborating to develop UAG agonists.

Eli Lilly inked a deal with Alizé Pharma centered on the latter’s type 2 diabetes program, AZP-01, for the development of unacylated ghrelin (UAG) agonists. The deal includes an up-front fee payable to Alizé Pharma and gives Lilly an exclusive option to license the program.

In vitro, in vivo, and clinical data indicate that UAG and its analogs may have a promising pharmacological and clinical profile as a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes, according to Alizé. The company suggests positive effects of UAGs include beta-cell proliferation as well as insulin-sensitization and glucose/lipid-lowering. Alizé further suggests that UAGs may have benefits on cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, dyslipidemia, and vascular remodeling.

Founded in 2007, The Alizé Pharma Group comprises two privately held biopharmaceutical companies focused on the development of innovative therapeutics for metabolic diseases and cancer. The first of the two, Alizé Pharma SAS, is dedicated to AZP-01. The compound is being developed in collaboration with Erasmus University Medical Center and the University of Torino, Italy.

The second entity, Alizé Pharma II SAS, is focused on the AZP-02 (Asparec®) program, which aims to develop a long-acting recombinant L-asparaginase product with reduced immunogenicity for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other onco-hematological disorders. The product is in preclinical development as second-line therapy in children or adults who demonstrate signs of hypersensitivity to the E. coli L-asparaginase products.

Asparec is a PEGylated recombinant L-asparaginase derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi. In May 2008, the Alizé Pharma Group acquired a recombinant L-asparaginase project from Eusa Pharma to accelerate the implementation of the Asparec program. A first patent application was filed in 2009 for this product.

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