Nara Biosciences Inc. announced that it has completed an agreement with Boston University to license the MyoMouse discovery platform, developed in the laboratory of Dr. Kenneth Walsh. The exclusive license includes all commercial rights to novel therapeutic factors discovered using the MyoMouse.
As described in the current issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, the MyoMouse is a mouse which has been genetically engineered to inducibly express the Akt1 gene. The result is an animal with increased type II skeletal muscle fibers. MyoMouse exhibits decreased insulin resistance, blood glucose, and body fat as well as improvements in other metabolic parameters without an increase in physical activity or a loss of appetite.
The beneficial effects seen in the MyoMouse are mediated through the production and secretion of a variety of signaling proteins made by type II muscle that act upon other tissues such as fat and liver. These new proteins, referred to as “myokines” from the Greek words “muscle” and “motion,” may represent new therapies that mimic the benefits of weight training for the treatment of obesity and diabetes as well as muscle wasting disorders.
The newly licensed myokines include a secreted protein named NK102 which has demonstrated significant blood glucose reductions when administered to obese animals fed a high fat/high sugar diet that mimics a fast food diet. Other licensed proteins include NK110 which has demonstrated muscle protection and repair in models of muscle injury and NK111 which has demonstrated cardioprotective effects in animal models of cardiac ischemia.
“Since exercise, particularly weight training, is difficult if not impossible for many patients to perform regularly, the administration of these newly discovered myokines offers the possibility of providing to the population at large many of the health benefits enjoyed by those who are physically trained,” said Dr. Jon Alsenas, Chief Business Officer of Nara.