An experimental medicine developed by a New Jersey-based drug company – Provention Bio, appeared to postpone the onset of type 1 diabetes in a clinical trial which pushed the shares of the company, which listed itself on the share market last year, more than tripped on the news.
According to the results of the clinical trials published on Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers linked the drug called teplizumab with a two-year difference in diagnosis of the disease. The study, which was also presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in San Francisco, was conducted with individuals who had been identified to be at potential risks of the disease because of history of their family members possessing the disease as well as certain markers in their blood.
According to the researchers of the study – which was led by Yale University’s Dr. Kevan Herold, over 1 million Americans get affected by type 1 diabetes and is considered to be the second largest and the second most-common childhood disease after asthma. All efforts at curing the disease so far have failed and researchers and doctors are only able to prevent and control symptoms of type 1 diabetes with the use of insulin.
“The results of this trial are striking, with several caveats,” Dr. Clifford Rosen of Maine Medical Center Research Institute and Dr. Julie Inglefinger of MassGeneral Hospital for Children wrote about the research in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers noted that the sample size of the trail was small because it encompassed only 76 patients and was comprised of just one treatment course of teplizumab that was administered over a period of just two weeks. According to the results of the study, compared with 24.4 months for those on a placebo, this treatment exhibited the median time to diagnosis of type 1 diabetes to be 48.4 months in the patients who were administered the drug.
The researchers noted that teplizumab is an immunotherapy which works by targeting the human immune system and in recent times, teplizumab has become well known because of its use in the treatment of cancer. Under the trail settings, the researchers believe that the drug works by keeping the immune system from targeting the cells that produce insulin. Researchers have over the years been able to resolve some issues related to the side effects of the drug – specifically rash and lower counts of immune cells called lymphocytes.
The rights to teplizumab were brought by Provention Bio from Maryland-based MacroGenics which had closed sown its project for testing of the drug in 2010 after the tests and trials that it conducted in partnership with Eli Lilly failed as the drug did not exhibit any tendency or impact of slowing down the progression of diabetes.
Provention Bio first went public in July 2018. On ModnayModnay, the share prices of the company increased by as much as 424 per cent over the news of the drug and reached an intraday high of $22.82. the increased share price also increased the market value of Provention Bio to $687 million.
“Delaying the onset of clinical type 1 diabetes may mean the disease burden could be postponed to a point at which patients are better able to manage their disease such as after infancy, elementary school, high school or even college,” Herold, the lead author of the study, said in a Provention statement.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)