Urocortin 2 gene transfer increases glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes

July 17, 2017

Renova Therapeutics co-founder presents encouraging data at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Scientific Sessions 2017

San Diego, CA – Dr. H. Kirk Hammond, Professor of Medicine at UCSD and Co-founder of Renova™ Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing gene and peptide-based treatments for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, presented preclinical data regarding safety and efficacy of intravenous delivery of an adeno-associated virus 8 vector encoding urocortin 2 (AAV8.UCn2) in the treatment of mice with insulin resistance, a key feature of type 2 diabetes. Urocortin 2 is a member of the corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) family of peptides and elicits its pharmacologic action by selectively binding to and activating the CRF type 2 receptor.

Dr. Hammond presented his findings at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Scientific Sessions 2017 in Portland, Oregon.

The pioneering research of Dr. Hammond and his colleagues has demonstrated that in murine models of heart failure, insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, gene transfer of urocortin 2 and/or urocortin 3 –  peptides with paracrine activity – is associated with significant and long-lasting beneficial effects on heart function, glucose disposal,  weight loss and other benefits, including reduction in fatty liver infiltration.

To date, preliminary data in mice indicate that high doses of AAV8.UCn2 are not associated with behavioral or marked laboratory abnormalities, or serious or severe adverse effects. Studies showing efficacy in two murine models of insulin resistance have previously been reported by Dr. Hammond and colleagues in JCI Insight.

Highlighting pilot data, Dr. Hammond now suggested that the same AAV8.UCn2 gene transfer approach holds promise in a disease model in non-human primates with insulin resistance and, potentially, in a murine model of type 1 diabetes.

Renova Therapeutics is planning to conduct a first-in-human, dose-escalation trial with urocortin 2 gene transfer in type 2 diabetes patients in 2018. Urocortin 2 gene transfer in diabetes will be developed as an investigational gene therapy product known as RT-200.