Zucara eyes IND studies for diabetes treatment

Life sciences firm Zucara Therapeutics said that a recent funding it received from a global charitable organization focused on supporting research in Type 1 diabetes treatments will enable the company to move forward in preparing its lead clinical drug for clinical testing.

Zucara, which has offices in Vancouver and Toronto, today said that JDF is contributing to the company’s work towards creating the first treatment to prevent dangerously low blood sugar by restoring the body’s ability to counter-regulate hypoglycemia. The amount of funding was not disclosed.

The funding builds on JDRF’s previous support of the work of Dr. Michael Riddell of York University and Dr. Richard Liggins of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), founding scientists behind Zucara.

“The initial support provided by JDRF allowed us to establish the proof-of-principle for the technology, and now this new investment by JDRF will allow this innovation to be further advanced toward commercialization and patient use,” said Dr. Richard Liggins, Pchief scientific officer of Zucara and principal investigator for the JDRF funding.

JDRF is a leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. The organizations has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception.

With this new investment, Zucara will be in a position to advance its lead clinical drug candidate through investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies, readying it for clinical testing beginning in 2019, according to a press release from the company.

Zucara believes its approach or restoring the body’s ability to counter-regulate hypoglycemia will reduce the likelihood of insulin therapy to cause hypoglycemia without affecting its efficacy.

The immediate patient benefits would include the reduced occurrence of hypoglycemia and its associated acute symptoms and effects. This in turn would allow those with T1D to better regulate their blood sugar levels with insulin, resulting in better overall health outcomes in the long term, according to Zucara.

“Zucara has successfully shown proof-of-principle in animal models of diabetes, and JDRF is proud to support preclinical studies of its drug candidate to potentially prevent hypoglycemia and improve the quality of life for millions of people with T1D,” said Dr. Marlon Pragnell, senior scientist for research at JDF.

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