UK biopharmaceutical company Lipoxen has hit a major milestone by getting its first clinical candidate, SuliXen, into Phase I development.

The London-based group, which is focused on the development of pharmaceutical products in the protein drugs, vaccines and anticancer arenas, has kicked off a Phase I trial of the long-acting insulin to test its potential as a treatment for diabetes type 1 and 2.

SuliXen, a long-acting version of insulin, is formulated using the company’s proprietary PolyXen technology, which is based on a naturally occurring polymer that is biodegradable, non-immunogenic and non-toxic.

The study, which will be carried out at the Federal State Center of Endocrinology in Moscow, will administer the drug to 12 healthy volunteers, and results are expected in the second quarter of the year.

The group is certainly hopeful in the drug’s potential, especially given that it may help to address an unmet market need. “With the World Health Organisation expecting there to be over 300 million diabetes sufferers worldwide by 2025, there is a clear market need for alternative insulin formulations such as SuliXen,” claimed the firm’s chief executive M Scott Maguire.

Another trial and licensing deals
And it looks like the coming months could be quite a busy time for the group, which spun out from the University of London’s School of Pharmacy in 1997, in other areas too, as its long-acting erythropoietin candidate is also on the verge of entering Phase I studies.

“The early months of 2008 are expected to be a very important period for Lipoxen as we generate the first clinical data on our most advanced high value differentiated biologicals,” Maguire said, and added that the group is also looking to sign further licensing deals with pharmaceutical and biotechnology group “in need of improved delivery solutions for their biologics”, presumably to help keep the engine running.