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Mubadala Finances UK-Based Company To Develop Obesity, Diabetes Treatments
(22 January 2020)

Mubadala Investment Company has announced financing the development of peptide hormones for the treatment of diabetes and obesity, by Zihipp Limited, a UK-based biopharmaceutical company.

Zihipp will use the GBP3.3 million 'Series A' financing round to develop a pipeline of oxyntomodulin and PYY peptides originating in the laboratory of Professor Sir Stephen Bloom FRS at Imperial College London.

Oxyntomodulin is a naturally occurring peptide hormone found in the colon, and has been found to suppress appetite. In similar fashion, the PYY peptide is also a gut hormone produced by individuals to regulate body weight. Studies have shown that there are several lines of evidence suggesting that low circulating PYY concentrations predispose towards the development or maintenance of obesity.

Zihipp’s products address the global pandemics of obesity and diabetes, linked conditions which affect one in 11 individuals worldwide and account for 12 percent of global healthcare expenditure. Diabetes is closely linked to obesity, and type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated through weight reduction. At present, diabetes affects over 435 million people worldwide, and its prevalence is growing.

Commenting on the announcement, Abdulla Al Shamsi, Head of Healthcare at Mubadala, said, "With the high rates of obesity and diabetes in the UAE, these new treatments promise to make a significant impact on public health. We are always seeking to invest in cutting-edge healthcare-related technologies that can benefit our patients."

Obesity also affects a significant proportion of the world's population – one study suggests that obesity levels in the UAE are as high as 37 percent of the population. Though weight reduction is an effective treatment for diabetes, it is difficult to achieve through calorie-controlled dieting as patients have difficulty complying with such regimes.

Weight loss interventions have therefore become well-established and include gastro-intestinal bypass surgery, and pharmaceutical approaches using hormone treatments like injectable glucagon-like peptide-1, GLP-1, analogues.

In both cases increased satiety hormones reduce food intake, however, gastric bypass surgery is expensive and invasive, and can lead to serious complications, while GLP-1s only produce limited weight loss.

Data has been generated by the Bloom laboratory in both in vivo and human studies, and in vitro models, that demonstrates the Zihipp products to be more potent and longer-lasting than marketed GLP-1 products, allowing patients to lose significant weight without surgery.

"I am delighted that Zihipp has secured Series A financing from Mubadala", commented Professor Sir Stephen Bloom FRS, Chairman of Zihipp. "Mubadala has an excellent track record of investing to address the most pressing healthcare needs and we look forward to working with them to develop these exciting new treatments."

The company holds an extensive exclusive license to multiple families of patents and pending applications covering oxyntomodulin and PYY peptides analogues developed in the Bloom laboratory, as well as access to the pre-clinical and clinical data packages resulting from clinical trials Imperial College has conducted to date. It has also entered into a partnership with Imperial College under which it has an exclusive option to receive further IP developed by the Bloom group.

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