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Regeneron and AstraZeneca have entered an agreement to create a small-molecule medicine designed to treat obesity.
On July 27, 2021, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca announced a partnership to research, develop, and market a small-molecule obesity drug. The goal is to develop a medicine that targets the GPR75 gene, which Regeneron recently discovered may be linked to obesity.
Under the agreement, the companies will evenly split research and development costs and share equally in any future potential profits. This collaboration will build on Regeneron’s recent discovery of rare genetic mutations in the GPR75 gene associated with protection against obesity and on early joint research initiated soon after discovery of this target.
In its study, Regeneron sequenced 650,000 people for those with rare protective mutations. Those who had at least one inactive copy of the GPR75 gene generally had a lower body mass index, weighed on average 12 pounds less, and were 54% less likely to be obese. Other strong associations, such as glucose lowering, were also found.
"We are pleased to announce this important collaboration with Regeneron to identify small molecule modulators against GPR75, a newly identified target with genetic validation in metabolic disorders,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca in a company press release. “Obesity and insulin resistance remain key drivers in the development of type 2 diabetes and areas of significant unmet medical need.”