Sanofi-Aventis in $335-million diabetes drug deal with CureDM

French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis today signed an exclusive worldwide deal with CureDM Group of the US on a potential new diabetes treatment, which could restore a patients' ability to produce insulin and other pancreatic hormones in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania-based biopharmaceutical company CureDM develops and commercialises therapies that prevent, ameliorate or reverse diabetes, and allow for the discontinuation of insulin.
It offers Pancreate, a human peptide therapeutic that stimulates the differentiation of new insulin-producing islets from existing adult pancreatic progenitor cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis will pay CureDM as much as $335 million, as well as development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments.

CureDM is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on worldwide product sales for the drug that is expected to begin Phase I trials later this year.

Pancreate is a bioactive peptide sequence of a naturally occurring human protein that has been shown in preclinical studies to stimulate the growth of new insulin producing islets in the pancreas, resulting in restoration of normal metabolic function and glucose control in the blood.

"Sanofi-Aventis is pleased to add to its diabetes division pipeline this highly innovative technology that has the potential to stimulate the formation of fully functional new pancreatic islets, thereby helping to restore patients' pancreatic function," said Marc Cluzel, executive vice-president-R&D of Sanofi-Aventis.

"Once fully developed, Pancreate has the potential to become the first regenerative treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to address the challenges that the growing diabetes epidemic poses on patients and healthcare systems," he added.