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May 7, 2013
An Update on Deuterium Drugs
In case you're wondering how the deuterated-drugs idea is coming along, the answer seems to be "just fine", at least for Concert Pharamaceuticals. They've announced their third collaboration inside of a year, this time with Celgene.
And they've got their own compound in development, CTP-499, in Phase II for diabetic nephropathy. That's a deutero analog of HDX (1-((S)-5-hydroxyhexyl)-3,7-dimethylxanthine), which is an active metabolite of the known xanthine drug pentoxifylline (which has also been investigated in diabetic kidney disease). You'd assume that deuteration makes this metabolite hang around longer, rather than being excreted, which is just the sort of profile shift that Concert is targeting.
Long-term, the deuteration idea has now diffused out into the general drug discovery world, and there will be no more easy pickings for it (well, at least not so many, depending on how competently patents are drafted). But if Concert can make a success out of what they have going already, they're already set for a longer term than most startups.
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