The search for weight loss therapies is as old as medicine itself. Small molecule treatments are marginally effective or cause undesirable side effects, some of which may be serious. Unigene Laboratories, a Boonton, New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company, has reported on a novel approach to hunger suppression based on naturally occurring peptides.
Scientists from Unigene Laboratories presented animal data on a new molecule, UGL269, at the Keystone Symposium Conference, “Obesity: Novel Aspects of the Regulation of Body Weight,” held in Alberta, Canada on January 22. Designed by Unigene researchers, patent-pending UGL269 is an analog of a natural peptide hormone.
In their presentation, investigators described an experiment comparing UGL269 with an analog of PYY and placebo in dogs. PYY is a pancreatic peptide which, based on animal studies, is believed to suppress appetite. UGL269 and PYY were formulated identically. Both contained an absorption enhancer and a protease inhibitor to limit digestion of the peptides in the digestive tract. The placebo contained all the excipients except for the peptides.
Dogs were monitored for food intake before, during, and after the dosing period. At equivalent doses, UGL269 significantly decreased food intake throughout the treatment period of one week, while PYY exhibited a smaller effect. The food intake of dogs given a placebo remained unchanged. Dogs receiving UGL269 also showed a small but significant weight reduction whereas dogs receiving the same dose of PYY experienced barely noticeable weight loss. Both food and water intake returned to pre-dose levels during the one week washout period following the dosing period. Dogs given placebo capsules exhibited a slight increase in both food intake and weight.
“Therapies that modify feeding behavior and result in weight loss represent a significant unmet medical need,” commented Dr. Warren Levy, President and CEO of Unigene. “UGL269 may offer a new, orally administered approach for weight loss through appetite reduction.”
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries, and in the United States in particular. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that the prevalence of people who are overweight has risen in the U.S. from the 10-13% range in 1991 to approximately 33%, for both men and women. Obesity is a risk factor for a number of serious medical conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is also a predisposing factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes, a condition that independently leads to diseases of the kidneys, eyes, and heart/circulatory systems to name a few. Diabetes care costs the U.S. healthcare system tens of billions of dollars per year, and the U.S. economy billions of hours in lost productivity.
Small-molecule weight loss drugs have a spotty history. Many are stimulants and one, the popular phentremine (“Phen-Fen”), caused serious heart valve problems. Other systemically-acting diet drugs appear to cross the blood-brain barrier, and have been implicated in depression and mood changes. Fat-blocking drugs cause less serious side effects (fatty stools, discharge), but since they are barely more effective than diet alone, these agents have not caught on as developers had hoped.
Peptides, by contrast, are natural molecules. ULG-269 uses only naturally-occurring amino acids. If broken down in the body these peptide building blocks will be used in the same manner as if they were ingested as food.
ULG-269 is produced in E. coli through Unigene’s patented Secrapep® manufacturing technology. Secrapep provides a robust, scalable production platform for numerous peptide pharmaceuticals, including salmon calcitonin, parathyroid hormone analogs and several glucose regulatory peptides.
Peptide drugs are usually administered to patients by injection instead of in pill form because the digestive system breaks these molecules down into smaller peptides and amino acids, rendering them inactive. Through Unigene’s Enteripep® oral delivery technology, peptide drugs are protected from the digestive enzymes and acids in the stomach and small intestine, and are absorbed into the system like any other drug.
“The goal for our program was to develop a novel peptide that was composed of natural building blocks and with the ability to reduce food intake in a superior manner to PYY, and ULG-269 satisfies both criteria,” comments Dr. Levy. “Further studies will determine whether we have discovered a more natural approach for reducing food intake with fewer side effects than existing approaches. We are fortunate that our manufacturing and drug delivery capabilities position us to exploit this opportunity, in the hopes of developing a reasonably priced, orally administered tablet.”
Janet Vasquez | Newswise Science News
'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine