About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« A Farewell to Tin | Main | Godzilla vs. Mothra? Relman vs. Epstein! »

July 23, 2007

Deactivation, After All

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Four years ago I wrote about an unusual Roche diabetes compound targeting glucokinase. The odd thing about it was that it made the enzyme more active, which is something you can only rarely hope to do. Enzymes generally run near the top of their specs, unless there's some built-in switch that keeps them damped down until they're needed. That's often phosphorylation, but another trick inside the cell is to keep the concentrations of substrate low (or the concentrations of some inhibitor high). But once they go, they usually go about as fast as they can. This glucokinase example is still about the only one I can think of in drug development, and it's had a fair amount of attention over the years.

Maybe I should switch the tense, though, because reader Daniel H. has informed me that Roche seems to have stopped work on the compound in Phase II. The company had taken their lead compound (R1440) through several different trials, so something seems to have been working, but they don't seem to have given any reasons as to why they abandoned it.

After that much Phase II work, the most likely answer is some sort of toxicity, the kind that comes up too close to the efficacious dose. A company may try several different dosing regimens, combinations with other drugs, or patient populations trying to get around a problem like that, and perhaps what we're seeing is the end of the line. Nothing looked safe enough to spend the really large money on Phase III.

By now, there are several other companies in the same area, and I'm sure they're rather curious about all this, too. Is glucokinase activation dead as a target? As with many questions in this industry, you'll have to have either a lot of money or a lot of patience to find out. And if you want to come down and try drug development yourself, you'll need a lot of both.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Clinical Trials | Diabetes and Obesity | Drug Development


1. kinasepro on July 23, 2007 11:14 PM writes...

I haven't been following the glucokinase story, but on agonists: Angion Biomedica has a peculiar sort of c-met agonist which they claim is in Ph1 as an 'HGF mimetic'. Other then what's on their homepage I haven't found anything but WO/2004/058721.

Permalink to Comment

2. Anonymous on July 24, 2007 2:30 PM writes...

Whatever happened to sGC activators?

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry