Arena Pharmaceuticals Announces That Ortho-McNeil Extends Research Term Under Partnership to Develop Drugs to Treat Type 2 Diabetes
SAN DIEGO, Sept 27, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Nasdaq: ARNA) announced today that Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc.
exercised its option to extend the research term for one additional year under
the provisions of its partnership with Arena to develop compounds targeting
the Glucose-Dependent Insulinotropic Receptor, or GDIR. The GDIR is a novel
receptor discovered by Arena that has the potential to stimulate insulin
production in response to increases in blood glucose. By extending the
research term for an additional year, Ortho-McNeil is committed to provide
research funding to Arena in the amount of $2.4 million.
"This research term extension clearly signifies the commitment
Ortho-McNeil has made to this program and the considerable promise it holds
for providing a novel oral diabetes treatment," commented Jack Lief, President
and Chief Executive Officer of Arena. "We are pleased to continue working
closely with Ortho-McNeil and look forward to reporting Phase 1 clinical
results from the lead candidate, APD668, in the coming months."
About the Glucose-Dependent Insulinotropic Receptor (GDIR)
The GDIR is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, discovered by
Arena and expressed in beta cells, which are cells in the pancreas that
produce insulin in response to increases in blood glucose. APD668 is a novel,
highly potent and orally active GDIR agonist intended to more efficiently
stimulate insulin release by beta cells in response to elevated blood glucose
levels, and to also avoid hypoglycemia.
Unlike the GLP-1 receptor, another beta-cell receptor that modulates
insulin secretion in a glucose-dependent manner, the GDIR is amenable to small
molecule, orally active, drug development. Arena has discovered potent,
selective and orally available small molecule agonists of the GDIR that
improve glucose tolerance and lower blood glucose levels in preclinical models
of diabetes. The GDIR mechanism is glucose dependent: in preclinical studies,
GDIR agonists only lowered blood glucose when it rose above normal levels,
such as after a meal. Therefore, unlike the glucose-insensitive
sulfonylureas, Arena's GDIR agonists are not expected to lower normal fasting
blood glucose levels or cause hypoglycemia. In addition, GDIR stimulation has
been found to increase the levels and activity of intracellular factors
thought to be involved in the preservation of beta cells.
Diabetes is a major worldwide disease. The International Diabetes
Foundation estimated that, in 2005, there were 194 million adults with
diabetes worldwide, an increase of over 40% since 1995. Approximately 90% of
diabetics, or 175 million people, suffer from Type 2 diabetes, the adult-onset
form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by inadequate response
to insulin and/or inadequate secretion of insulin as blood glucose levels
rise. Therapies for Type 2 diabetes are directed toward correcting the body's
inadequate response with oral and injectable medications, or directly
modifying insulin levels by injection of insulin or insulin analogs. The
worldwide market for diabetes medications exceeded $10 billion and oral
anti-diabetes drugs exceeded $6 billion in 2004.
About Arena Pharmaceuticals
Arena is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on
discovering, developing and commercializing oral drugs in four major
therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory, and
metabolic diseases. Arena's most advanced product candidate, lorcaserin, is
being investigated in a Phase 3 clinical trial program for the treatment of
obesity. Arena's broad pipeline of novel compounds targeting G protein-
coupled receptors, an important class of validated drug targets, includes
compounds being evaluated for other serious diseases and disorders
independently and with our partners, Merck & Co., Inc. and Ortho-McNeil
Arena Pharmaceuticals® and Arena® are registered service marks of the
company. CART is an unregistered service mark of the company. "APD" is
an abbreviation for Arena Pharmaceuticals Development.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements
that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking
statements include statements about the continuation of the collaboration with
Ortho-McNeil and expected activities and results thereunder, the potential of
the GDIR, expectations relating to the tolerability, side effects, efficacy
and potential of compounds targeting the GDIR, the reporting of results from
the Phase 1 clinical trail of APD668, and other statements about Arena's
strategy and ability to develop compounds and commercialize drugs. For such
statements, Arena claims the protection of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. Actual events or results may differ materially from
Arena's expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited
to, Arena's planned clinical trials and studies may not proceed at the time or
in the manner Arena expects or at all; the results of preclinical studies or
clinical trials may not be predictive of future results; the timing, success
and cost of Arena's research and development; Arena's ability to partner
lorcaserin, APD125 or other of its compounds or programs; Arena's ability to
obtain additional financing; Arena's ability to obtain and defend its patents;
and the timing and receipt of payments and fees, if any, from Arena's
collaborators. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those stated or implied by Arena's forward-looking statements
are disclosed in Arena's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These forward-looking statements represent Arena's judgment as of the time of
this release. Arena disclaims any intent or obligation to update these
forward-looking statements, other than as may be required under applicable
SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Jack Lief, President and CEO, or David Walsey, Director, Corporate Communications,
both of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-858-453-7200 ext. 1682; or Carolyn Wang of
WeissComm Partners, +1-415-946-1065, Media Relations for Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.