La Quinta, California (PressExposure) October 21, 2009 -- The team led by Ahn Jin-hee, a researcher at the state-run Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), said KR66223 has shown to be about 20 times more effective in laboratory tests than the Januvia drug marketed worldwide by Merck.
The material developed with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, strengthens the body's natural blood sugar level control system by inhibiting the negative effects of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) in the stomach.
In a healthy person, the body releases the so-called incretin hormones that trigger the excretion of insulin and control blood sugar levels, but this is disrupted in people suffering from diabetes due to the DPP-IV enzyme.
"By inhibiting the overactive DPP-IV enzyme, the new substance can allow the incretin to do its job of controlling blood sugar levels," Ahn said.
He said tests have shown the KR66223 substance reduces indigestion problems, weight gains and dangerous low blood sugar levels that are associated with existing drugs. A total of four patents have been requested for the new substance.
KRICT, meanwhile, said it has signed a contract to turn over the substance to Kainos Medicine Inc., a local venture pharmaceutical firm specializing in new drug development.
Kainos will be responsible for carrying out clinical tests that would allow the substance to be sold as a drug, and will pay the the state-run institute around 10 percent of sales earnings once the drug is marketed.
The global market for diabetes treatment stood at $17 billion in 2005 and is expected to shoot up to $30 billion by 2010. The size of the local market is expected to hit 450 billion won ($499 million) in 2010, up from 200 billion won two years ago.