Boehringer Ingelheim bags development option for combined incretin mimetic/glucagon agonist
Ingelheim/Copenhagen – Zealand Pharma has licensed out its preclinical diabetes II and obesity drug candidate ZP2929 to Boehringer Ingelheim, in a deal potentially worth EUR376 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will pay up to EUR41million over the next two years to the Danish company including milestones and research funding of up to 4 million for developing combined glucagon and GLP-1 receptor agonists and for bringing its preclinical once-daily subcutanously administered peptidic lead candidate ZP2929 through Phase I clinical trials. In their research collaboration, Zealand Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim will focus on the characterisation, identification and development of additional glucagon/GLP-1 dual agonists aimed at finding new indications, formulations and delivery systems. While Zealand Pharma will be responsible for Phase I development, Boehringer Ingelheim obtains global development and commercialisation rights to ZP2929. Depending on the achievement of pre-defined development, regulatory and commercial milestones, Zealand Pharma is eligible to receive payments for ZP2929 and may also receive additional milestone payments if other products covered by the collaboration advance through development. Further, Zealand Pharma is entitled to tiered royalties that range from high single to low double digits on global sales of products under the agreement. Zealand Pharma retains co-promotion rights in Scandinavia.
ZP2929, which will be tested in humans in the second half of 2011, mimics the gut peptide hormone oxyntomodulin, released by the L-cells of the small intestine after meals, and is believed to exert its biological effects by activating both the glucagon receptor and the GLP-1 receptor. Thus the drug combines the well-known positive physiological effects of incretin mimetics such as exenatide or liraglutide (glucose-dependent release of Insulin, reduced hunger, reduced glucose release by the liver, beta-cell protective effect, reduction of BMI) with glucagon analogues to increase weight loss. In preclinical studies the drug triggered significant weight loss and glycemic control.Diabetes II is characterised by insulin resistance of muscle, fat and liver cells plus a beta cell dysfunction due to permanent production of insulin.