Firm will identify lead compounds from Novo Nordisk’s ghrelin antagonist candidates.

Sapphire Therapeutics licensed a discovery-stage ghrelin antagonist program from Novo Nordisk. These candidates are being researched and developed as potential obesity treatments.

“Ghrelin, as the only known systemically acting appetite-stimulating hormone, offers a new and very specific target for antagonist drug intervention,” explains William J. Polvino, M.D., Sapphire’s president and CEO.

Sapphire focuses on developing drugs that act on the ghrelin receptor against metabolic and oncologic diseases. “Licensing this promising discovery-stage ghrelin antagonist program from Novo Nordisk complements Sapphire’s clinical-stage agonist program and increases the breadth of our ghrelin portfolio,” Dr. Polvino adds. Thus far, the company has a Phase II candidate being tested in cancer patients with anorexia/cachexia syndrome and ipamorelin and  a compound in Phase I/II studies in postoperative ileus.

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