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Beta testing GPR40

Takeda, Connexios: Early data in race of GPR40 drugs for diabetes

With concerns about cardiovascular safety and cancer signals dampening optimism about the future of diabetes therapies, there is an emerging race to demonstrate that activating free fatty acid receptor 1 can avoid such safety issues because the target is expressed almost exclusively on pancreatic islet beta cells.

To be commercially competitive, companies will likely need to show in the clinic what has been seen in vitro: that stimulating the target with a GPR40 agonist has potential as a disease-modifying strategy that can preserve and even improve beta cell function and therefore warrant use in the earliest stages of disease.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Connexios Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. now have presented data for their free fatty acid receptor 1 (FFAR1; GPR40) programs.

Early Phase II data from Takeda indicate a GPR40 agonist provides potent HbA1c reduction that looks to be competitive with any other diabetes drug.

In vitro data from Connexios suggests that its compound has disease-modifying effects on beta cells.

It's unlikely, however, that such compounds will provide the weight loss of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists or sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2)

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