By Grant Zeng, CFA
Earlier this morning (May 2), Oramed (ORMP) announced that the Company is developing a new drug candidate, a weight loss treatment in the form of an oral leptin capsule.
Leptin, commonly known as the obesity, fat or satiety hormone, is a protein that is produced in fat cells which regulates and alters long-term food intake and energy expenditure. Leptin helps to inhibit hunger and regulate energy balance. But obese individuals generally exhibit a higher concentration of leptin in their blood than normal weight individuals. These people show resistance to leptin, similar to resistance of insulin in type II diabetes. Leptin has additionally been shown to suppress glucagon secretion and improve glucose levels in type I diabetes.
In the news release, the company explained that the decision to expand into obesity market is based on positive preclinical data from Leptin. But the news release did not include the detailed data.
Israel’s Ministry of Health has approved Oramed’s commencement of a proof of concept single dose study for its oral leptin drug candidate to evaluate its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics (glucagon reduction) in ten type I diabetic patients.
We think the expansion into obesity market is a natural expansion of the company’s pipeline using its protein oral delivery (POD) technology.
The overall obesity market is a multibillion-dollar market which is expected to grow rapidly worldwide. Since Leptin’s role in obesity is well defined and it’s our belief that an oral leptin capsule may help control and reduce obesity. Also an oral leptin capsule is an appropriate fit in the company’s portfolio of drug candidates which is focused on diabetes. Obesity and diabetes are highly correlated and insulin resistance has been found to generate leptin resistance.
The company plans to initiate the study later this year. We will update investors once we have detailed information about this study.
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By Grant Zeng, CFA