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TransTech acquires Nordisk programs
February 2008
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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HIGHPOINT, N.C.—To advance its clinical stage drug discovery and development efforts, TransTech Pharma Inc. has taken the wraps off a deal with Novo Nordisk A/S, in which TransTech secured all rights from Novo Nordisk to a portfolio of drug candidates being developed to treat metabolic disorders. TransTech made an undisclosed one-time payment to acquire the programs.
This portfolio comprises three distinct therapeutic approaches to metabolic disorders: H3 receptor antagonists, PPAR(delta) agonists, and 11(beta)HSD1 inhibitors.
In January 2007 Novo Nordisk announced it would focus its research and development resources on the company's growing pipeline of protein-based pharmaceuticals and divest all existing preclinical and clinical small-molecule projects.
"When Novo made the announcement that it had decided to concentrate efforts on large molecules, we were invited, among several other companies, to participate in their small molecule asset acquisition process," says Stephen Ireland, SVP, business development for Transtech "We prevailed and brought in three programs: TTP404, an oral H3 antagonist program for obesity; TTP593, an oral PPAR delta agonist program for Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia; and oral 11betaHSD1 inhibitors, also for  Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia."
Prior successes were key in Novo Nordisk selecting TransTech. According to Mats Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo Nordisk EVP and CSO, previous work between the two companies gives him confidence Transtech will succeed with the development of its metabolic portfolio and free Novo Nordisk to pursue its new strategy.
"This allows us to focus our R&D efforts on therapeutic proteins while keeping a financial stake in the programs as a TransTech shareholder," Thomsen says in a press release.
Adnan Mjalli, TransTech's founder, chairman and CEO, says in a  prepared statement the acquisition enhances the company's already robust diabetes and obesity portfolio.
"We are confident that all three programs represent promising approaches to addressing unmet medical needs," says Mjalli. "These additions to the pipeline will allow TransTech to become a world leader in the discovery and development of novel treatments for diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders."
TransTech's current diabetes and obesity portfolio includes orally administered and novel therapeutic development candidates targeting PTP1b inhibitors, AgRP inhibitors, GLP1R agonists, AMPK activators and glucokinase activators. Adding the three Novo Nordisk programs, TransTech is now engaged in 11 clinical and preclinical programs in this area.
"This portfolio rivals that found in much larger companies in our industry," says Ireland.
Despite the enormous investment in the discovery of new therapeutics for metabolic disorders, more than 84 percent of all diabetics have an uncontrolled disease and one in three Americans born in 2000 are expected to develop the disease and suffer its harmful symptoms and side effects.
 "We have chosen to pursue novel targets with innovative science in hope of providing true breakthrough medicines for many debilitating diseases," says Ireland. "The industry validated our approach in September of 2006 when we licensed our Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts (RAGE) programs TTP488 and TTP4000 to Pfizer for worldwide development and commercialization in a deal that was characterized as the largest of its kind." DDN
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