Dual-mechanism oral small molecule MBX-2982 acts as GPR119 agonist.

Sanofi-Aventis negotiated a global license and development agreement with Metabolex centered on small molecule type 2 diabetes therapies that modulate the G protein-coupled receptor 119 (GPR119). The deal includes further development of Metabolex’ existing oral candidate MBX-2982, which is currently undergoing Phase II trials.

Under the terms of the deal Metabolex will receive an up-front payment from sanofi-aventis and could earn up to $375 million in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones plus royalties on worldwide sales.

GPR119 interacts with bioactive lipids known to stimulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion, Metabolex explains. The firm says preclinical data suggest that MBX-2982 is a selective and orally active GPR119 agonist that functions through a dual mechanism of action.

This duality includes direct action on beta cells to increase insulin secretion and stimulation of the release of incretin GLP-1 from the gut. Metabolex claims that the dual function may offer improved glucose homeostasis over existing diabetes therapies, including the potential for weight loss and improved islet health.  

“Sanofi’s clear strategic commitment to the field of diabetes makes them an ideal partner to maximize the significant potential of this compound,” comments Harold Van Wart, Metabolex’ president and CEO.

Metabolex’ deal with sanofi-aventis follows just days after a separate agreement with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals (OMJPI) for the discovery and development of new treatments for type 2 diabetes and other disorders. OMJPI obtained an exclusive, worldwide license to develop, manufacture, and commercialize several Metabolex programs that are currently at the preclinical stage.

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