Hua Phase III diabetes data make good on glucokinase but disappoint investors

Hua’s glucokinase activator notches a Phase III win for the long-pursued target

Hua’s announcement that glucokinase activator dorzagliatin met its endpoints in a Phase III diabetes study marks a watershed moment for a target whose disease-modifying potential was long stymied by the limitations of previous compounds. Yet the company’s stock dropped on the news, suggesting investors expected a more differentiated profile.

The Chinese biotech licensed dorzagliatin from Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) in 2012. Hua Medicine Ltd. (HKEX:2552) is developing it as a monotherapy and in combination with five marketed diabetes treatments. Hua has one other asset, a mGluR5 allosteric modulator, in preclinical testing for Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Glucokinase activators operate by modulating a glucose sensor that controls key functions dysregulated in Type II diabetes, such as insulin and glucagon secretion by the pancreas, and

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