CytRx Corporation has announced that it has signed an expanded agreement with the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) covering several newly discovered drug targets that have demonstrated the ability to regulate insulin activity in fat cells.
These drug targets were identified using RNAi screening technology through CytRx's existing collaborative program with UMMS. CytRx now plans to develop small molecule drugs based on these licensed-targets.
"Obesity has reached global epidemic proportions and type 2 diabetes is among the leading health concerns in the United States," said Steven A. Kriegsman, President and CEO of CytRx Corporation.
"Our ultimate goal is to develop drugs against these novel targets to help patients lose weight and maintain normal glucose levels."
"We are delighted with our long term partnership with UMMS and with the success of our collaboration to date."
"Two of these newly discovered drug targets regulate a well-known 'fat burning' metabolic pathway that has been the focus of significant interest to several large pharmaceutical companies," he added.
"Our strategy is to secure a significant pharmaceutical or biotechnology partnership to assist with resources as we develop drugs that alter the activity of these novel targets."
The insulin-regulating drug targets were discovered through experiments conducted in the laboratory of metabolic scientist Michael P. Czech, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular medicine at UMMS.
The drug targets were shown to regulate insulin action in fat cells when specific gene expression was silenced using small interfering RNA technology.
Many of these drug targets are part of pathways previously shown to be important to diabetes and obesity.
"We have now screened over 700 possible drug targets in fat cells for regulation of insulin action and fatty acid metabolism," said Dr. Czech.
"Through this process, we have discovered many promising targets that have never before been identified as having involvement with type 2 diabetes."
"We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CytRx to utilize these novel targets to discover valuable drugs."