Drug Based on Enzyme Found in Insects Enters Phase IIa Trial for Treatment of Type 2, Other Inflammatory Diseases

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AR9281, a drug developed by the University of California at Davis and now under further development by a California-based pharmaceutical company, has entered Phase II of human clinical trials.

AR9281 is a soluble epoxide hydrolase (s-EH) inhibitor.  It inhibits the action of s-EH, an enzyme that is involved in the metabolism of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a “signaling molecule” that scientists believe is implicated in diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammatory diseases.

UC Davis scientists first discovered s-EH in the late sixties while looking for a way to control the development of insect larvae. The enzyme works in the same biochemical pathway that is subject to the action of such common anti-inflammatory drugs as aspirin, Aleve, ibuprofen, and Motrin.

The phase II double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will study 150 patients who have mild obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and mild to moderate hypertension. Each patient will receive 28 days of treatment, during which the researchers will study its effects on blood pressure and glucose levels, as well as its safety and tolerability.

The company conducting the study, Arête Therapeutics, Inc., of Hayward, California, expects to publish the findings of the trial about a year from now.

Source: U.C. Davis press release

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