CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A company developing a new once-daily oral medicine to treat type 2 diabetes has reached across the Atlantic for a way to deliver its drug to the colon.
BioKier has received early funding and other help from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in its quest to develop a drug that mimics the anti-diabetes effect of bariatric weight-loss surgery – without the physical trauma and cost of surgery.
BioKier CEO George Szewczyk says his young company has entered into an exclusive license agreement with UCL Business PLC (UCLB), an affiliate of Britain’s University College London. The deal gives BioKier access to a proprietary colon delivery technology with the trade name of Phloral, developed by researchers at the UCL School of Pharmacy.
BioKier will use the Phloral as part of the formulation for its type 2 diabetes drug, code named BKR-013.
Phloral enables the BioKier drug to escape destruction by gastric juices in the stomach and intestines, but slowly deliver the therapy to the colon, where it’s needed.
NCBiotech awarded BioKier two separate $250,000 loans, one in 2010 and the other in 2013, and the firm has subsequently landed a $1.7 million funding package from Broadview Ventures and the American Heart Association’s Science & Technology Accelerator Program. NCBiotech helped bring that venture philanthropy package together, as well.
“Diabetes is a rapidly growing social and economic health problem,” said Szewczyk. “It is also associated with several co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease. BioKier’s novel anti-diabetes drug is designed to capture the anti-diabetes effects seen in gastric bypass surgery by delivering a gut hormone – secretagogue – to the colon. The UCL Phloral coating, which allows for targeted delivery of pharmaceutical ingredients to the colon, is essential for the development of this drug.”
Bill Lindsay, Senior Business Manager for UCLB, said his organization is “excited to be working with BioKier toward a safe and effective diabetes treatment.”
After bringing BKR-013 to the market, BioKier plans to pursue its possible use in battling obesity.