Sirtris Touts Its Next Generation of Diabetes Drug Candidates, Massively More Powerful than its First

When I visited Cambridge-based Sirtris Pharmaceuticals a few weeks ago, CEO Christoph Westphal told me that the company would soon be publishing data on a new drug candidate that’s 1000 times as effective as the company’s lead compound—a diabetes drug—at activating a key gene called SIRT1. Those data are now out in this week’s issue of Nature. It turns out there are actually three new compounds, and Westphal says they “could unlock a new approach to treating Type 2 diabetes.”

Co-founded by David Sinclair, a pathologist at Harvard, Sirtris has staked its future on the idea that compounds that enhance the activity of a family of enzymes including SIRT1 make powerful drugs against diseases of aging such a diabetes and cancer. Sinclair’s research showed that resveratrol—a chemical found in red wine—is a SIRT1 activator that increases stamina and lifespan when fed to mice. Sirtris is currently testing a proprietary formulation of resveratrol in Phase 1B clinical trials, with results due out around the beginning of the new year, Westphal says.

The company has no plans to abandon resveratrol, according to Westphal, but the new compounds—which Sirtris found after screening thousands of small molecules—could prove to be much more potent. The Nature study showed they improved insulin sensitivity in obese mice, and even restored blood-glucose levels to near normal in mice that were fed high-fat diets. Sirtris plans to begin studies in the first half of 2008 to find the most effective doses of the new compounds in humans, according to Westphal.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

Trending on Xconomy

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

4 responses to “Sirtris Touts Its Next Generation of Diabetes Drug Candidates, Massively More Powerful than its First”

  1. david thomas says:

    According to Wikipedia, Consumer Lab, an independent dietary
    supplement and over the counter products evaluation organization,
    published a report on 13 November 2007 on the popular resveratrol
    supplements. The organization reported that there exists a wide range
    in quality, dose, and price among the 13 resveratrol products
    evaluated. The actual amount of resveratrol contained in the
    different brands range from 2.2mg for Revatrol, which claimed to have
    400mg of “Red Wine Grape Complex”, to 500mg for Biotivia Transmax,
    which is consistent with the amount claimed on the product’s label.
    Prices per 100mg of resveratrol ranged from less than $.30 for
    products made by Biotivia, Jarrow, and Country life, to a high of
    $45.27 for the Revatrol brand. None of the products tested were found
    to have significant levels of heavy metals or other contaminants.

  2. Diabetes says:

    I really found this site to be very helpful and full of good information. Thank you for taking the time to post this info. I look forward to you writing again soon.

  3. Tony Day says:

    Who would have thought that red wine would help Type 2 Diabetes!
    my immediate worrys are the beginning of Type 2 diabetes, i am still checking the symptoms with my doctor bit worried as i am 47 years old.

  4. Hugh Hamilton says:

    I have diabetes and bladder cancer. I am insulin dependent and I just got my left Kidney taken out. I have had several bladder tumors removed and they seem to be coming back. I am wondering if you are going to have a test group for Reveratrol in humans? If you are how can a person get in this test group. I am very interested.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Hugh Hamilton