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XOMA 052, A Novel Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes, Disappoints in Clinical Trial

Published: 4/30/11

We've written before about this enticing once-monthly injection that would have improved glycemic control for people with type 2 diabetes and we wanted to give readers an update – albeit a disappointing one. We found out recently that XOMA 052, a novel therapy targeting inflammation in development for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and other indications, failed to produce a significant reduction in blood glucose in a six-month clinical trial in type 2 patients on metformin. This news follows similar disappointing results released in January from three months of treatment in another trial of XOMA 052, calling into question the future of this therapy for type 2 diabetes. The therapy is designed to block the activation of the IL-1 receptor, an important on-switch for inflammation in the body. Interest in this type of therapy has been building since a study in 2007 showed that blocking IL-1 with another drug called anakinra could help lower blood sugar as well as reduce markers of inflammation in type 2 diabetes patients. XOMA 052 is designed to work similarly to anakinra but has a much longer half-life, allowing it to be dosed every four weeks compared to every day for anakinra. There are other similar drugs in development that target the IL-1 receptor, but it remains to be seen if these other therapies are more successful in lowering blood glucose than XOMA 052. On a more positive note, no safety issues were identified in the trial, and the therapy reduced inflammation, improved cholesterol, and improved markers of heart disease risk. The companies developing XOMA 052 have not ruled out continuing to develop the drug for diabetes despite the recent negative results, and have spoken enthusiastically about the possibility of using this therapy to prevent heart disease in people with diabetes or other risk factors. XOMA 52 has shown benefit in a small trial in patients with Behcet's uveitis, an auto-inflammatory eye disease, and the companies have announced plans to enter phase 3 development for this indication.  --MY


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