BOSTON, May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Rhythm announced today results demonstrating that RM-131, the company's novel ghrelin agonist, was highly effective in restoring normal gastric function in animal models of delayed gastric emptying owing to a direct prokinetic effect. The results were the subject of an oral presentation by Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School) titled "RM-131: A Potent Gastroprokinetic Agent" at the Digestive Disease Week 2011 conference in Chicago on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
"This study suggests RM-131's significant inherent potential for the treatment of common GI functional disorders such as diabetic gastroparesis," said Elizabeth Stoner, MD, Chief Development Officer of Rhythm. "Diabetic patients with gastroparesis experience high rates of hospitalization due to vomiting and nausea, and their ability to maintain glucose is significantly challenged by their inability to eat normally. We are developing RM-131 to improve outcomes for these types of GI disorders."
In this in vivo study, RM-131 fully restored gastric emptying in a progressive, dose-dependent manner and demonstrated 100 times greater potency compared with natural human ghrelin. In addition, RM-131 was shown to be more effective in restoring GI function compared with GHSR agonists such as ipamorelin. The study was performed by scientists at Ipsen who discovered RM-131.
"The results from this head-to-head testing are compelling and demonstrate RM-131's potential to restore impaired GI function," said Bart Henderson, President of Rhythm. "The diabetes epidemic is driving a significant increase in patients with gastroparesis, but patients today have very limited treatment options. RM-131 is now in Phase 1 human clinical trials to assess its potential for treating gastroparesis and other important functional GI disorders."
Gastroparesis affects up to 30% of the 24 million diabetics in the U.S. and causes chronic nausea, vomiting, malnutrition, and a high rate of hospitalization. The U.S. economic cost of gastroparesis is estimated to total $3.5 billion, and annual hospitalization costs for diabetic gastroparesis exceed $200 million.
RM-131 is a small-peptide analog of ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach that stimulates gastrointestinal activity, mitigates proinflammatory cytokine production, and is the only hormone known to stimulate appetite. Derived from the natural ghrelin sequence, RM-131 has been optimized to stimulate gastrointestinal motility and anti-inflammatory activity, with enhanced stability and pharmacokinetics.
About Rhythm (www.rhythmtx.com)
Rhythm is a biotechnology company developing peptide therapeutics that address unmet needs in metabolic diseases. Rhythm investors include MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Third Rock Ventures. The company is based in Boston, Massachusetts.