The need for treatment in Type 2 Diabetes

The need for treatment in Type 2 Diabetes

01.23.13 | By

Last week, PhRMA released a new report highlighting the fact that there are more than 5,000 medicines in development, 70 percent of which are potential first-in-class medicines that can help patients with serious unmet medical needs. The authors of the report found that a sizable percentage of the potential first-in-class medicines focus on diabetes.

Today on the Catalyst, we are featuring a blog post from Dr. Elisabeth Bjork, Vice President and Head of Cardiovascular and Gastroinestinal Global Medicines Development, AstraZeneca about her company's research work on potential new medicines for patients with Type 2 diabetes. In her post, Elizabeth highlights the collaborative partnerships between AstraZeneca and other biopharmaceutical companies to help move the science forward in the diabetes space.

Have you ever heard a child say, "I can't wait to grow up so that I can...."? Surely if you, like me, are the parent of a teenager striving for independence, you've heard the beginning of the phrase at least once! But I doubt the phrase has ever ended in "develop Type 2 diabetes." Yet this disease is a reality for too many adults and is expected to affect 380 million people worldwide by 2025.

Type 2 diabetes is occurring at an alarming pace. Why the growing, global pandemic? Increased international trade has made processed foods widely available, and the dramatic increase in automation and use of computers encourages a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is fast becoming a worldwide issue, driving not only a surge in cardiovascular disease, but also in diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes in China is now thought to be the same as in the US - that's nearly 100 million diabetics requiring long-term treatment.

If you know someone with Type 2 diabetes you know that its impact on people's health can range from a manageable inconvenience to serious, debilitating consequences. With Type 2 diabetes, it is common to start treatment with diet and exercise, and then add one or more anti-diabetic agents as the disease progresses. Patients cannot properly produce and use insulin, which is necessary to move sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it is used for energy. This leads to a state of persistent high blood glucose and can cause complications to the circulatory system, kidney failure and retinopathy, a medical term for eye damage.

Currently there are about 400 molecules in development for the treatment of diabetes and AstraZeneca is proud to be responsible for some of these, via collaborations with other like-minded companies who want to help patients with diabetes. For example:

  • AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into collaboration in January 2007. Together we are researching, developing and commercialising products that may represent a new vision for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes with the potential to improve patient outcomes. And we expanded on our diabetes alliance in 2012 through Bristol-Myers Squibb's acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
  • In 2012, AstraZeneca announced a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Ardelyx for a research program that may help treat end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and chronic kidney disease, which are serious complications of diabetes.

Another exciting aspect of AstraZeneca's diabetes research is in the area of regenerative medicine, in which we seek to make replacement tissues and organs for people whose endocrine systems are not functioning properly, due to diabetes.

We are continuing to drive research efforts and broaden our diabetes portfolio through partnership and collaboration, which we firmly believe is the way forward to treating individual patient needs in diabetes.

Because of the progressive nature of diabetes, patients need different treatment options. Each Type 2 diabetes patient has their own unique set of characteristics and challenges, which highlights the need for multiple treatment options. That's why we're working to broaden our research capabilities by working with others externally to break the boundaries through pure innovation and collaboration.

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