VANCOUVER, CANADA: Sirona Biochem Corp. (TSX-V: SBM), an emerging biotech company focused on drug development for diabetes and obesity, announced today the second major appointment this week to its Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Denis Richard, one of Canada’s leading obesity scientists.
Sirona Biochem CEO, Dr. Howard Verrico, said, “Professor Richard’s work in obesity is immensely important as obesity is directly linked to the onset of diabetes. Earlier this year, for instance, a team of scientists at Australia’s Monash University* proved a direct link between fat cell activity and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
“Professor Richard studies the regulation of energy balance. Variations in energy stores, or energy balance, reflect the difference between energy intake and energy expenditure and are generally associated with changes in body weight and variations in fat mass.
“One of the conclusions of the Monash study is that it appears that the more fat tissue a person has the less sensitive they become to insulin. The widely acknowledged primary challenge in diabetes is management of sugar metabolism and that is why sodium-glucose transporter (SGLT) inhibitors show such promise in this regard as undischarged, unmetabolised blood sugars becomes body fat,“ stated Dr. Verrico.
Dr. Richard is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anatomy & Physiology as well as Director of the Hôpital Laval Research Center. He is also Director of the Centre for Research on Energy Metabolism of Université Laval (CREME-GIRO) and Chair of the Merck Frosst/CIHR Research Chair in Obesity.
Dr. Richard pursued his Post doctoral studies in Nutrition & Physiology at the Dunn Nutrition Unit, Cambridge University in 1982-1984. He obtained his Master’s degree and Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Physiology at Université Laval, 1978-1982.
Sirona Biochem owns the worldwide product rights to a library of unique sodium glucose transporter (SGLT) inhibitors to treat diabetes and obesity. SGLT inhibitors help block the reuptake of excess sugars from urine, which can then reduce high blood sugar towards normal levels.
Sirona Biochem has a strategic partnership with TFChem, a drug discovery company based in Rouen, France. TFChem licenses its technology of fluorinated carbohydrate mimics: GlycoMim®, and products in development, to biotech companies. This strategic partnership was completed by a detailed research and licence agreement signed one year ago.
Over 2 million Canadians and more than 23 million Americans have diabetes. The diabetes drug market reached US$18 billion in 2005, and is expected to increase to $21-25 billion by 2011.
Obesity has also become a major health problem for many post-industrial societies, so much so that in 2004, the United States Health and Human Services declared obesity to be a disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that globally, in 2005, 1.6 billion adults were overweight with at least 400 million adults obese. By 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. Obesity poses a major health risk because it greatly increases the risk of co-morbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and cancer.
Sirona Biochem Corp. (TSX: V – SBM) is an emerging biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel drug compounds. The current focus is on treatments for Type II diabetes and obesity. Sirona has entered into a license agreement with TFChem S.A.R.L., a drug discovery company based in Rouen, France. TFChem licenses its technology of fluorinated carbohydrate mimics: GlycoMim®, and products in development, to biotech companies. The license agreement with TFChem provides for research and development of new compounds known as SGLT Inhibitors.
Contacts: John Dougherty, Corporate Development at 604-641-4466.
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