Beta Therapeutics is developing therapeutics directed toward a novel and critical mechanism of diabetes disease progression and is observed in inflammatory micro-environments of other diseases.
This mechanism was discovered by company scientific founders Prof. Chris Parish and Dr. Charmaine Simeonovic and colleagues at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University.
Our research has shown that:
- Heparanase, an enzyme secreted by inflammatory cells, specifically degrades islet heparan sulphate and mediates inflammatory micro-environments through its direct role in the activation of local inflammatory cells as well as the breakdown of a cellular component essential for cytokine and growth factor release.
- This mechanism is observed across inflammatory micro-environments including but not limited to the pancreas islets in diabetes.
- Insulin-producing beta cells within pancreas islets are protected from cellular damage in diabetes by a unique cellular matrix containing heparan sulphate proteoglycan which is essential for beta cell function and protection from cell death.
- Islet heparan sulphate is lost in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and this loss has a significant impact on beta cell survival and the development of diabetes.
Beta Therapeutics has identified two classes of therapeutics including small molecule candidate heparanase inhibitors that are efficacious in mouse models of T1D. In particular, significant progress has been made in the small molecule heparanase program leading to a refined understanding of SAR on a range of unique molecular scaffolds as well as synthetic strategies for development of compounds with enhanced active site binding and target inhibition.
Targeting heparanase and stabilising islet heparan sulphate levels represents a unique therapeutic and commercial opportunity in diseases driven by inflammation in specific micro-environments including diabetes.
Our novel heparanase inhibitors represent important assets for consideration in other therapeutics areas including oncology. We have demonstrated that our therapeutics demonstrate significant efficacy in disease models that progress due to inflammation in specific tissue micro-environments.
The company has exclusive access to intellectual property which covers composition of matter and the methods of use for heparanase inhibitors in diabetes and other indications.