Hua Medicine May be Sending Type 2 Diabetes into Remission


Is it a DREAM? On September 26, news emerged from Suzhou, China, that a glucokinase activator being developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Hua Medicine may be heading toward making diabetes remission a reality. 

“DREAM” is a follow-up, observational clinical study of the Phase III SEED clinical study of dorzagliatin, a first-in-class glucokinase activator, which is being conducted in drug-naive Type 2 diabetes patients to determine its safety and efficacy. Its main objective is to determine if patients who participated in the SEED trial and achieved glycemic control as defined by investigators could maintain this for a minimum of 52 weeks without the intervention of any glucose-lowering medication.

And many of them did. The analysis showed a 52-week glucose remission rate of 65.2% among the 69 patients being followed.

Professor Jianhua Ma, director of the department of endocrinology at Nanjing First Hospital, standing member of the Chinese Diabetes Society and one of the principal investigators on the study, presented the findings at the 6th China BioMed Innovation and Investment Conference.

“Dorzagliatin, a new class of glucokinase activator, has demonstrated the ability to effectively improve early phase insulin secretion and beta cell function and insulin resistance resulting in Type 2 diabetes remission,” Ma said, adding that dorzagliatin monotherapy had previously demonstrated stable long-term efficacy and a good safety profile in the SEED study.

“The DREAM study again showed positive results, where patients who reached normal blood glucose level after dorzagliatin treatment were able to maintain their blood glucose level and beta cell function after discontinuation of medication.” Ma went on to say that the study is of “great significance in expanding the treatment options for type 2 diabetes.”

Hua Medicine is a clinical-stage drug development company based out of Shanghai, China, focussing on novel therapies for the treatment of diabetes and CNS disorders.

According to Hua Medicine CEO, founder, and chief scientific officer Dr. Li Chen, China has the world’s largest number of diabetes patients, with the number of type 2 patients exceeding 120 million. He added that prevention and control of diabetes have become a “strategic imperative” in addressing this major public health issue.

“The positive results of the DREAM study have strengthened our confidence in the cure of Type 2 diabetes,” Chen said. “Hua Medicine will continue to explore the broad prospects of monotherapy and combination therapy based on dorzagliatin, while further conducting typing studies and using a combination of big data and artificial intelligence for the precise treatment of Type 2 diabetes.”

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million Americans have diabetes (around 1 in 10), with approximately 90-95% of the cases being Type 2.

This is not the first time the idea of diabetes remission has been proposed. In 2020, Dr. Ebaa Al Ozairi, chief medical officer at the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait said that Type 2 diabetes remission with weight loss is possible and most likely for younger patients who sustain more weight loss and have had the disease for a shorter period of time.

“We can no longer talk and tell our patients that diabetes is a chronic disease,” Ozairi, who is also an American Board of Physician Nutrition specialist, said during a presentation at ObesityWeek Interactive. “We have to give them the hope that we know today that diabetes remission is not a myth and is actually a reality. We really need to rethink treatment of Type 2 diabetes, so if it is treated early, we can achieve remission.”

In 2018, Danish diabetes leader Novo Nordisk announced that it was upping its focus on stem cell therapy which replaces the beta cells missing in Type 1 diabetes patients with the aim of freeing patients from their dependence on insulin. In February, the company gave an update on its cell therapy efforts, saying that it expected to file an investigational new drug (IND) application toward the end of 2022, but that the initial indication would be in Parkinson’s disease, not diabetes.

In January, Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved an IND for its own cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes.

Featured Jobs on BioSpace

Back to news