Jortan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (JORTAN) was founded around aspartic protease inhibitors as potential diabetes therapeutics based on technology from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). JORTAN focuses initially on BACE-2 (Memapsin 1) inhibitors as a novel approach to the treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes is the most prevalent endocrine disorder affecting nearly 29.1 million patients in the US in 2013, approximately 9.3% of the population, according to American Diabetes Asssociation (ADA) estimates. Approximately 95% of these patients have type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by an inadequate glucose stimulated insulin response and insulin resistance in tissues, or both. Diabetes is also associated with an increased risk other serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, kidney disease, retinal degeneration, neurological disease, and hyperlipidemia. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. In addition to insulin replacement, diabetes is treated with drugs that lower insulin resistance, increase insulin secretion, or alter hepatic gluconeogenesis. However none of these approaches address the progressive decrease in beta-cell function that often leads to type-2 diabetics becoming insulin dependent. A drug that increases beta-cell number and function would be a very important advance in the treatment of both Type 1 (“Juvenile”) and Type 2 diabetes.
JORTAN’s scientific founder, Dr. Jordan Tang of OMRF has spent over a decade designing selective inhibitors of BACE-2s closest homologue, BACE-1, a regulatory enzyme implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Their work was the founding basis for CoMentis (partnered with Astellas) and resulted in clinical candidate compounds. As a result of this work JORTAN has an available library of patented and patent-pending compounds characterized for their BACE-2 and BACE-1 selectivity, including compounds with sub-nanomolar potency and high selectivity for BACE-2 over BACE-1. The prototype compound has been shown to lower blood glucose levels by over 20% in ob/ob mice. While Roche, Novartis and Schering AG, based on a patent literature review, have had some medicinal chemistry activity in BACE-2 inhibitors for diabetes, JORTAN is uniquely positioned to quickly identify an IND candidate that will increase Beta-cell number and function as a prospective treatment for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
JORTAN has partnered with Accele BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology accelerator. Accele Venture Partners has provided seed capital to JORTAN to fund initial development milestones. JORTAN is supported by strong intellectual property, has shown early success in validated preclinical models, and has significant commercial potential in the field of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Accele BioPharma is interested in discussing this program and related intellectual property with investors and relevant commercialization partners.