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BioKier gains funding to develop gastric bypass drug
BioKier, a privately held development-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of diabetes, has finalised a funding commitment of US$1.7 million from Broadview Ventures and the American Heart Association’s Science & Technology Accelerator Program.
“Funds provided by Broadview and the American Heart Association will allow us to conduct two preliminary clinical trials and initiate very important work on formulation development,” said Dr George Szewczyk, BioKier’s CEO and scientific founder. “It was gratifying to BioKier that two investors with demonstrated expertise in the cardiovascular disease area and a national investment perspective recognised the potential that BioKier’s approach may offer patients afflicted with diabetes, particularly as it relates to the cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes.”
The company is developing a proprietary oral treatment for diabetes based on understanding the mechanism of the anti-diabetic effects of gastric bypass surgery. According to the BioKier, gastric bypass surgery independent of its weight loss effect, substantially improves or even resolves diabetes within days in 80-90% of obese type 2 diabetes patients. This surgery is equally effective in non-obese diabetes patients.
There is strong evidence that the mechanism of this effect is expedited delivery to the lower gut of certain nutrients which are natural secretagogues for glucoregulatory gut hormones.
BioKier has devised a proprietary method to potentially mimic the effects of surgery and to improve or resolve diabetes, but without the physical trauma and cost of bariatric surgery. It is expected to be suitable for both obese or non-obese diabetes patients.
The treatment acts by stimulating the L-cells in the lower gut with an orally delivered therapeutic and thus correcting the deficiency in secretion of endogenous GLP-1 and other gut hormones, such as PYY, GLP-2 and oxyntomodulin. This treatment will potentially also have beneficial effects in metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
“Broadview Ventures’ mission is to accelerate the development of promising technology to effect meaningful change for patients. We are very pleased to add BioKier – our first diabetes investment – to our expanding cardiovascular portfolio,” said Dr David Tancredi, Scientific Director of the Fondation Leducq, and representative of the Leducq Family Trust at Broadview Ventures. “We are especially pleased that this promising science is being surrounded by well-developed syndicate support from the American Heart Association and NCBiotech giving it the potential to improve the lives of millions of patients with diabetes.”
BioKier’s novel therapeutic will be an oral, once-a-day pill and will address a putative causative factor of diabetes rather than just the symptoms.
“Diabetes has long been recognized and accepted as a major contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and stroke are the major causes of death and disability among people with Type 2 diabetes,” said Ross M. Tonkens, MD, Director of the American Heart Association Science & Technology Accelerator Program.
The funding is the first institutional venture capital investment for BioKier, which has previously received seed funding from individuals and a Small Business Research Loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.