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Veteran Carbohydrate Chemist Turns His Eyes Toward Diabetes

Posted by dlife on Wed, Mar 26, 14, 03:08 PM 0 Comment

March 26, 2014 (Newswise)In the area of science known as complex carbohydrate chemistry, few researchers can boast quite the perspective of David Platt, Ph.D. A world-renowned pioneer in the field, over the past 30 years he has pursued a unique pipeline of carbohydrate-based therapeutics that address a variety of unmet medical needs both safely and effectively for both oral and injectable applications.

Platt's drugs and research, along with others' in galectin-3 research have led to a medical device and drugs being developed at no less than four different publicly traded companies. La Jolla Pharmaceuticals' lead drug for chronic kidney failure and cancer—GSC100 (formerly known as GBC590), a complex polysaccharide that has the ability to bind and block the effects of galectin-3—was developed by Dr. Platt in the 1990s at the first company he founded: International Gene Group. Platt holds a patent on this drug. Galectin Therapeutics' two leading drugs—GM-CT-01 for cancer immunotherapy, and GM-MD-02 for liver fibrosis—are also based on Dr. Platt's work at Pro-Pharmaceuticals. Pro changed its name to Galectin Therapeutics.

BG Medicine Inc.'s lead product—BGM Galectin-3, a blood test to measure galectin-3 levels in blood plasma or serum for clinical use in chronic heart failure, is based on Dr. Platt's and others research on galectin-3. Dr. Platt was the first person to express the galectin-3 gene and in point of fact, the galectin-3 receptor was named by Dr. Platt. He holds patents on his work on galectins.

Now, at his current company, Boston Therapeutics, which is based in Manchester, NH, Platt has helped develop BTI320 (formerly PAZ320), a carbohydrate compound chewable tablet that is taken right before a meal and designed to lower the rise of blood sugar that occurs after eating. The compound works in the gut by blocking the action of carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes that break down carbs in foods during digestion.

Researchers have already tested BTI320 in patients with Type 2 diabetes taking metformin, insulin and other drugs, and obtained positive results. In a Phase ll clinical study conducted at Dartmouth Medical Center, 45 percent of patients responded to BTI320 with a 40 percent reduction of post-meal glucose in the blood. Additionally, results showed the compound has an excellent safety profile, as there were no serious side effects.

Complex carbohydrate chemistry—as it is being harnessed by David Platt—could be a key tool for addressing the needs of individuals with diabetes. Its continued development might offer new treatments and hope for millions of patients worldwide.

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