Novo starts GLP-1 trial with Merrion tech

Novo Nordisk has initiated a Phase I clinical trial of an oral Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog (NN9925) using Merrion Pharmaceuticals' Gastrointestinal Permeation Enhancement Technology GIPET®. The short-lived GLP-1 hormone and its analogs are seen as potential candidates for the treatment of type 2 diabetes because of their effect on glucose-dependent, insulin secretion in the pancreas. Merrion entered an agreement to develop and commercialize oral formulations of Novo Nordisk's proprietary GLP-1 analogs in January of 2009.

According to Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo Nordisk Executive Vice President and CSO, the company "seeks to maximize the likelihood of success of its oral diabetes protein portfolio by adopting an approach of clinically investigating several different tailor made degradation resistant analogs of insulin and GLP-1 formulated through the use of various state-of-the-art oral protein delivery technologies." GIPET allows drugs that can currently only be given parenterally to be converted into oral forms, as well as improving their absorption. Says Merrion CEO, John Lynch, "Oral GLP-1 analogs are one of a number of products which GIPET could bring to market."

Merrion currently has four internal product development programs based on its GIPET technology: OrazolTM (MER-101), an oral bisphosphonate for oncology indications; AlmerolTM (MER-103), another oral bisphosphonate for the treatment of osteoporosis; Acyline (MER-104), an oral oncology product for the treatment of prostate cancer; and MER 102, an oral anticoagulant.

Merrion was established in 2003 to commercialize technologies acquired from Elan Corporation.

 - here's the release from Merrion