Acasti Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ACST) (CVE:ACST) released preliminary data from a preclinical mouse study of its hypertriglyceridemia drug CaPre that offered new insights into a potential mechanism of action in type 2 diabetes.
The head-to-head study, which also evaluated VASCEPA, a marketed omega-3 (OM3) therapeutic, and metformin, a widely prescribed diabetic medication, suggests CaPre possesses a mechanism unique from its counterparts.
The study showed that CaPre may promote insulin secretion, according to a standard glucose challenge test, which measures the body’s response to sugar.
André Marette, the professor Acasti collaborated with who conducted the study, was encouraged by the findings.
“Our initial pre-clinical studies with CaPre are very promising,” Marette said in a statement. “The effect of CaPre on insulin secretion may suggest preservation of beta-cell function early in the development of type 2 diabetes.”
Additionally, Capre was shown to increase plasma levels of PDX, a metabolite shown to improve insulin sensitivity. High dosage of CaPre had a strong effect on PDX levels, the company said, much greater than that of VASCEPA.
“The robust increase in plasma PDX levels with CaPre treatment is also of marked interest given the pleiotropic action of this key anti-inflammatory and pro-metabolic molecule,” Marette said. “We have not seen this in previous studies with other OM3s using similar preclinical models of diabetes.”
CaPre is also currently being evaluated in a second study, which is being conducted in a fatty liver/Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) model. Those results should further confirm the findings of the diabetes study, and may potentially provide more insight into the mechanism of action of CaPre on the plasma lipid profile, and in fatty liver disease.
Acasti CEO and COO Pierre Lemieux praised Marette’s work and said Acasti now plans to expand its Phase 3 TRILOGY program in humans.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with Dr. Marette,” Lemieux said. “He has been a leader in the omega-3 research field, and especially in elucidating the importance and the role of resolvins and protectins (PDX) in the management of inflammation related to insulin resistance and glucose management in diabetes. Based on this data, we now plan to expand our list of exploratory markers to be evaluated in our TRILOGY Phase 3 program to include the resolvins and protectins such as PDX and other related pro-resolution molecules.”
CaPre is a highly purified omega-3 phospholipid concentrate derived from krill oil. The company expects to report topline results from its Phase 3 study within the next two months and is eyeing 2021 as a potential launch date.
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