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12:00 AM
 | 
Dec 21, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Valuing Array's Sensitive Side

Array BioPharma Inc.'s glucokinase activators are not the most advanced molecules in the class, but the biotech says they may have a competitive advantage in terms of safety due to their glucose sensitivity. Amgen Inc. bought into the concept last week, agreeing to pay $60 million up front for rights to the compounds, which give the big biotech a third target that could be synergistic with its other diabetes candidates.

Glucokinase is an attractive target for diabetes treatments because the enzyme is present in both the pancreas and the liver, where it functions in two distinct, yet complementary ways to regulate glucose homeostasis. The enzyme becomes activated in response to elevated levels of glucose. In the pancreas, activated glucokinase stimulates insulin secretion. In the liver, it increases glucose metabolism.

"There are mutations within glucokinase that deactivate the enzyme. Those patients who have a deactivated glucokinase actually get Type II diabetes. So there is a strong rationale for this mechanism," Array President and CSO Kevin Koch told...

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