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Oct 06, 2016
 |  BC Innovations  |  Product R&D

Encoding glucose control

How Renova is using gene therapy for diabetes

Renova Therapeutics has licensed a gene therapy technology for Type II diabetes from the University of California San Diego that could control blood glucose levels for years with only a single injection. By discovering a new role for the paracrine peptide UCN2, the company believes it has a fresh angle on the long search to bypass the peaks and troughs of standard therapies.

Renova's lead product RT-100 (Ad5.hAC6), a Phase II gene therapy for congestive heart failure, is slated to enter a pivotal trial by year end. Now, the company is focusing on building its preclinical pipeline by using gene therapy to deliver paracrine factors.

Although researchers have been investigating gene therapy of insulin to treat Type I diabetes since the advent of the technology, there's been little success and no companies have ongoing programs, according to BioCentury's BCIQ database. In the last six years, the modality has been used to express leptin in the brain, or genes that promote β cell production in the pancreas, but none of those approaches has yet reached the clinic.

Last month, a team led by Renova founder and UCSD professor of medicine Kirk Hammond showed a single IV injection of a gene therapy vector expressing UCN2 normalized blood glucose levels in mouse models of diabetes for the full 18-week duration of the experiment.

The target is involved in arterial vasodilation, and had not previously been linked to downregulation of glucose levels.

But Hammond's lab at UCSD - which operates...

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