Zucara advancing new treatment for hypoglycemia closer to clinical testing

In 2017, JDRF announced that it would contribute funding to Canada’s Zucara Therapeutics Inc., a preclinical life sciences company developing a new treatment to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in people with diabetes.

This initial support provided by JDRF allowed Zucara to establish the proof-of-principle for the technology and to further advance this innovation toward commercialization and patient use.

Thanks to an additional $3.9M (USD) in funding from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Zucara Therapeutics Inc. is now in a position to complete the preclinical development of the Canadian pharmaceutical’s lead drug candidate, ZT-01, the first once-daily medication to prevent hypoglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Phase I of the clinical trial is set for late 2019, with preclinical development work being led by Dr. Richard Liggins, Zucara’s chief scientific officer, and also supported by founding scientist, Dr. Michael Riddell, at York University.

“The goal of ZT-01 is to promote a natural glucagon response and to restore the body’s ability to counter-regulate hypoglycemia,” says Michael Midmer, CEO of Zucara Therapeutics Inc.

Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence in diabetes and can range from mild symptoms of hunger, shakiness, disorientation, confusion and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases it can even lead to death. The constant risk means that these individuals must monitor and treat low blood glucose levels with fast-acting carbohydrates or, in the case of emergency, receive an injection of exogenous glucagon. Glucagon is needed during hypoglycemia because it raises the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream.

Zucara’s therapy would not only prevent dangerous hypoglycemic episodes, but could also improve management of the disease while reducing long-term complications.

This new funding builds upon more than $1M (USD) in recently announced funding from JDRF International, The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), MaRS Innovation and support from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting project and visit our JDRF Blog for more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes news.

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