Scientists in the Metabolic Disease Area are looking for novel treatments for abnormalities in metabolism and associated diseases.
- diabetes (disordered carbohydrate metabolism)
- dyslipidaemia (disordered fat metabolism)
- anaemia (shortage of red blood cells or low haemoglobin) and other renal diseases
- osteoporosis (loss of bone minerals).
Roche has ten compounds in development for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Two promising compounds with novel modes of action are dalcetrapib for the treatment of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and dyslipidemia, and aleglitazar for reduction of the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus is marked by the body’s inability to utilise glucose normally. Maturity onset (type 2) diabetes is associated with modern diets containing highly refined carbohydrates, obesity and lack of exercise. Nearly 150 million people worldwide suffer type 2 diabetes and experts predict that number will double to 300 million by 2025. Roche’s discovery and development efforts target multiple mechanisms of action, reflecting the polygenic nature of this disease.
Aleglitazar (R1439) is a dual PPAR agonist and is showing promise for the management of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients. Following the decision to advance aleglitazar into phase III clinical testing, recruitment for a global study (ALECARDIO) began in early 2010.
Reduction in levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), or “good” cholesterol, are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Dalcetrapib (R1658), licensed from Japan Tobacco and currently in phase III clinical trials, raises levels of HDLC by inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity. Supporting studies are investigating the potential impact of dalcetrapib treatment on atherosclerotic plaque burden, using imaging techniques and functional tests.