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Boehringer eyes obesity market

Aims to widen metabolism portfolio beyond diabetes

Boehringer Ingelheim headquarters

Boehringer Ingelheim's ambitions in metabolic disorders are stretching to weight loss treatments for people with obesity.

The company already has a foothold in diabetes through its partnership with Lilly, including Trajenta/ Tradjenta and empagliflozin, but is looking to adapt this science to enter the growing obesity market.

Speaking at an R&D conference in London recently, Dr Sanjay Patel, global clinical develop lead – diabetes, Boehringer, explained that the company had purposely set out in the late 1990s to focus on diabetes, but these ambitions now expanded to focus on some of the complications and risk factors, such as being overweight.

“Treatments of the future will target different aspects of diabetes,” said Dr Patel, explaining the shift in care to a more holistic approach.

“The new pipeline in the future will have to be a glucose 'plus' pipeline, where treatments affect glucose control, but also other aspects of diabetes.”

Part of Boehringer's research includes inhibiting the 11ß-HSD1 enzyme, which is affected when people put on weight and can lead to changes in metabolism can lead to diabetes.

“We actually see benefits in preclinical and early clinical data that we could potentially help patients improve glucose control and control their weight through this inhibition,” said Dr Patel.

Boehringer is also investigating the use of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists in both diabetes weight loss, as Novo Nordisk are doing with their diabetes treatment Victoza (liraglutide).

As well as being part of wider diabetes control, obesity is emerging as strong market in its own right following several years of safety concerns and regulatory challenges.

Vivus and Arena have received approvals in the past 18 months for obesity drugs, although both products have faced challenges in both the regulation and uptake.

Boehringer is confident it can overcome such regulatory concerns, however, with Dr Patel noting that the FDA has put in clear guidance on what parameters are need to get a drug onto market.

“There is a move to have a very similar approach to what we have in diabetes. So you will need to show safety – both during trial programmes and after.”

Article by
Thomas Meek

12th August 2013

From: Research

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