FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an integrated discovery and development company, today announced that it has earned an $8 million milestone payment from Boehringer Ingelheim for achievement of a performance milestone in their 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD)-1 diabetes and metabolic disease strategic alliance.
“The quality of the lead candidate and the speed at which the program progresses is a testament to the efficiency of our work together with Boehringer Ingelheim,” said Richard Gregg, MD, Vitae’s chief scientific officer. “Our lead may have potential as a once-a-day drug for treating diabetes and other metabolic syndrome related indications, and we look forward to demonstrating that potential as the program continues to advance.”
Vitae and Boehringer Ingelheim initiated their strategic alliance in October of 2007. Under the terms of that agreement, the companies combined their respective research programs, working together to identify and advance novel 11beta-HSD-1 inhibitors for clinical development. Vitae received $36.5 million in upfront and committed payments from Boehringer Ingelheim and is eligible to receive up to $300 million in milestone payments based on the achievement of development, regulatory and commercial program goals. Further milestone payments may be achieved with additional compounds and/or additional approved indications. Vitae will receive royalty payments from Boehringer Ingelheim on sales of products commercialized under the collaboration. The initial research term was for two years, however the companies have recently agreed to extend the term into 2010.
About 11beta-HSD-1 Inhibition
11beta-HSD-1 is an enzyme that converts the biologically inactive steroid cortisone into the active hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to cause resistance to the action of insulin in multiple target tissues including liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Overexpression of 11beta-HSD-1 in mouse adipose tissue leads to a metabolic syndrome-like phenotype, including increased central obesity, hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, and hypertriglyceridemia. In contrast, 11beta-HSD-1 knockout (KO) mice resist visceral obesity and diabetes through improved function of insulin in liver and adipose tissues, consistent with the beneficial effects of enzyme inhibition. Early clinical evidence has shown that inhibiting 11beta-HSD-1 can reduce glucose and lipids in diabetic patients. These data indicate that elevated levels of adipose and liver 11beta-HSD-1 are detrimental for metabolic control. Pharmacological inhibition of 11beta-HSD-1 represents an attractive therapeutic target for diabetes and treating cardiovascular risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome.
Nearly 30 million adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes in the United States; 194 million worldwide. That number is expected to nearly double in the next twenty years. One in four Americans suffer from obesity/diabetes; in addition, over 40 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed in the pre-diabetic state. An aging population, sedentary lifestyle and rapidly growing incidence of obesity are all contributing to the dramatic rise in prevalence of diabetes. The current U.S. diabetic drug market exceeds $10 billion, and is predicted to grow to $45 billion by 2020.
Vitae Pharmaceuticals is an integrated discovery and development company with a maturing portfolio of programs in areas of high unmet medical need, including the cardiovascular1, diabetes and Alzheimer’s2 therapeutic areas. Vitae is expert in structure-based drug design and combines a proprietary technical platform with the experience and insight of world class scientists to advance best-in-class compounds for high value, hard to drug targets.
Vitae’s proprietary discovery platform has clear advantages in creating and analyzing novel drug candidates that meet pre-defined physiochemical characteristics. The accuracy and speed of this system has enabled Vitae to solve challenging targets in multiple therapeutic areas -- discovering and advancing attractive compounds in a rapid and highly capital efficient manner. Vitae Pharmaceuticals is financed by leading corporate and venture capital investors, completing its last venture round in 2004. Vitae’s forty scientists are located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. For additional information, please visit the company’s website, www.vitaepharma.com.
1. Vitae Pharmaceuticals Press Release: September 21, 2009; http://www.vitaepharma.com/news/NewsRelease2009Sep21.pdf
2. Vitae Pharmaceuticals Press Release: June 15, 2009; http://www.vitaepharma.com/news/NewsRelease2009Jun15.pdf
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