Diartis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has announced that it has received initial funding from Index Ventures, Amunix Inc., a U.S. based biotechnology company, and private investors. The company has also acquired a clinical-stage diabetes drug candidate from Versartis, Inc., VRS-859 (exenatide-XTEN), and with this initial funding will continue its development for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
A Phase 1a multi-center, blinded, placebo-controlled, single-ascending dose study is ongoing to evaluate the safety and ability of VRS-859 to maintain glycemic control for one month in T2DM patients after a single dose. The results of the Phase 1a study are anticipated in Q2 2011.
The Phase 1a study will be followed later this year by a repeat dose (3 month) Phase 1b study comparing VRS-859 to Byetta® (exenatide injection) in T2DM patients. VRS-859 is intended as a once-monthly form of the GLP-1 analog, exenatide.
Commenting on the investment, Kevin Johnson, London based partner at Index Ventures said, "We are delighted to invest in Diartis Pharmaceuticals. The company will focus on moving this exciting compound rapidly through early clinical development. Given the dramatic rise in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, there is a significant market need for a longer acting form of the GLP-1 analog exenatide."