Friday, 10 August 2007

MacroGenics in final trials of type 1 drug

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MacroGenics, Inc. is racing to enroll up to 500 adults and children in its final stage trials of a molecule which helps save insulin-producing cells by killing their attackers. It also boosts other immune-system cells throughout the body. What's the rush? Tolerx Inc., a Massachusetts drug company, is scheduled to start late-stage trials for a compound that works similarly to MacroGenics' product. Final trials should last the remainder of the decade.

Earlier studies in academia have shown some type 1 diabetics under this particular treatment required less insulin. Scott Koenig, president and CEO of MacroGenics, stated final trials will test whether the compound could halt the need for insulin in some patients altogether. They expect patients will require fewer daily injections, and shoring up a patient's immune system will help people with diabetes avoid dangerous complications such as heart or limb disease.

If successful, Koenig said the course of the disease can be modified -- an acute intervention with dramatic effects on long-term health. Less insulin, saving beta cells, strengthening the immune system, final stage testing in adults and children ... all sounds exciting. If proven true, type 1 diabetics will flock under the care of this drug like tourists to Chicago's sculpture Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Millennium Park. I could not get enough of this reflective wonder yesterday!

MacroGenics is good at raising funds, but they need more. They have enough capital to last another year. According to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturerers of America, for every 5,000 compounds tested to become a drug, only five make it to final patient clinical trials. Read more in the Washington Business Journal.

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