Tonix deal sets up use of intranasal drug in diabetes, obesity

Geneva sam74100/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images
Geneva (sam74100/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)(sam74100/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images)

Tonix Pharmaceuticals has struck a licensing deal to expand use of its intranasal potentiated oxytocin into cardiometabolic syndromes. The agreement gives Tonix exclusive rights to University of Geneva technology covering oxytocin-based treatments for insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.  

New Jersey-based Tonix bought its potentiated oxytocin program from Trigemina last year, picking up licenses to certain Stanford University technologies in the process. The deal positioned Tonix to build on preclinical studies suggesting intranasal oxytocin candidate TNX-1900 has applications in central nervous system disorders. Tonix picked migraine as its lead indication.

Late last year, Tonix added another element to its work on intranasal oxytocin by entering into an agreement for additional licenses. The deal covers licenses for University of Geneva technology that were held by Katana Pharmaceuticals.

The University of Geneva generated evidence that using oxytocin in an animal model of obesity gives a boost to lipolysis and fatty acid beta-oxidation in adipose tissue. Researchers linked the changes to improvements in lipid metabolism, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. 

Subsequent research has tied intranasal oxytocin to positive effects on weight, glucose homeostasis, pancreatic beta-cell responsivity and other variables. The body of evidence has persuaded Tonix that TNX-1900 may have a future in cardiometabolic syndromes. 

“The effects of intranasal oxytocin on improving peripheral insulin sensitivity, pancreatic function and lipid metabolism encourage us to develop TNX-1900 as a potential therapeutic in obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes management and related metabolic complications,” Tonix CEO Seth Lederman said in a statement. 

Successful execution of the strategy would write a new chapter in the long history of oxytocin nasal sprays. The U.S. approved an oxytocin nasal spray in 1960 to support breast milk production, but Novartis discontinued the product in 1997.