Alize Pharma, a group of companies developing drugs for the treatment of metabolic diseases and cancer, has completed a funding round of $4.1 million, which will enable the company to move AZP-531, its UAG (UnAcylated Ghrelin) analog, into phase I clinical trials.
Alize Pharma will carry out the first phase I clinical trial of AZP-531 in healthy volunteers in 2013, which will be followed by phase Ib and phase II trials in patients with type 2 diabetes as well as in patients suffering from the Prader Willi syndrome. Preclinical and clinical data suggest that UAG and its analogs have therapeutic potential in the targeted indications, by reducing acylated ghrelin blood levels, improving glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, and improving additional cardiovascular risk factors.
“This development program is extremely important, since it will address significant unmet clinical needs in type 2 diabetes and the Prader Willi syndrome,” said Thierry Abribat, president and CEO of Alize Pharma. “In line with our business model, the results obtained from the first clinical trials will help us select a pharmaceutical partner capable of developing and commercializing the product under a licensing agreement.”
Alize’s UAG program was launched in 2007 and resulted in the discovery of AZP-531, the first unacylated ghrelin analog. This 8-amino acid peptide is stable and its pharmacokinetic properties make it suitable for pharmaceutical development. AZP-531 will be the first unacylated ghrelin analog to enter regulatory development.
“The mechanism of action of AZP-531 may lead to improved glycemia control in type 2 diabetes and also to positive effects on other cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, dyslipidemia and vascular complications,” explained Professor AJ van der Lely, head of the clinical endocrinology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and scientific advisor at Alize Pharma. “In addition, it could be used to target clinical conditions where acylated ghrelin levels are abnormally high, such as the Prader Willi syndrome, thus opening up a new treatment option for these patients.”
The company’s main shareholders participated in the funding round, namely Sham, Octalfa, CEMA and Thierry Abribat. Since its creation, Alize Pharma has raised a total of $10.3 million, has created value by reaching significant R&D milestones and has entered into its first strategic partnerships.