Diabetes is a world-wide epidemic which is expanding fast. A huge majority of diabetes (90 %) are caused by un-healthy diet, smoking, alcohol and inertia. This is labelled as Diabetes type 2. A smaller part of the “diabetes-population” are often younger persons with an autoimmune condition called Diabetes type 1.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, estimates the number of individuals with diabetes to be more than 420 million world-wide. Within twenty years the number of people with Diabetes type 2 may double. Furthermore, there is a huge number of undiagnosed diabetes patients that are untreated.
Diabetes type 1 is often onsets at an early age. The main reason is an inability of the pancreas (the Islets of Langerhans) to produce insulin, in turn caused by destroyed/inactive beta-cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot utilise the energy of the sugar.
The market for Diabetes type 2 consists of several drug families with an estimated, global sales worth of 60 BUSD. The most important are: DPP-4 inhibitors (Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4), GLP-1 receptor antagonists (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1), SGLT-2 (Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2) inhibitors and versions of insulin being administered from the outside These treatments have different kinds of mechanism of action. DPP-4 and GLP-1 increase the human production of insulin, while SGLT-2 decreases the levels of glucose in the bloodstream, inhibiting the reabsorption of the sugar.
The drug, Victoza, from Novo Nordisk is the current market leading GLP-1 receptor antagonist – what is commonly called a non-insulin treatment. Present treatments are initially well received by the patients, but over time the effect will diminish, which in turn, calls for a combination of different drugs. Our drug candidate, FOL-014, uses a different mode of action and may become a strong addition to existing therapies.