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Wed 22 Jan 2020 02:01 PM

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UAE's Mubadala joins obesity fight with investment in UK firm

Zihipp will use the $4.3m financing round to develop peptide hormones for the treatment of diabetes and obesity

UAE's Mubadala joins obesity fight with investment in UK firm

Mubadala Investment Company has announced it has invested in a UK-based company which is developing peptide hormones for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Zihipp will use the £3.3 million ($4.3 million) 'Series A' financing round to develop a pipeline of oxyntomodulin and PYY peptides originating in the laboratory of Professor Sir Stephen Bloom at Imperial College London.

Abdulla Al Shamsi, head of healthcare at Mubadala, said: "With the high rates of obesity and diabetes in the UAE, these new treatments promise to make a significant impact on public health. We are always seeking to invest in cutting-edge healthcare-related technologies that can benefit our patients."

Oxyntomodulin is a naturally occurring peptide hormone found in the colon, and has been found to suppress appetite while the PYY peptide is also a gut hormone produced by individuals to regulate body weight.

Studies have shown that there are several lines of evidence suggesting that low circulating PYY concentrations predispose towards the development or maintenance of obesity.

Zihipp’s products address the global pandemics of obesity and diabetes, linked conditions which affect one in 11 individuals worldwide and account for 12 percent of global healthcare expenditure.

Diabetes is closely linked to obesity, and type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated through weight reduction. At present, diabetes affects over 435 million people worldwide, and its prevalence is growing.

Obesity affects a significant proportion of the world's population with one study suggesting that obesity levels in the UAE are as high as 37 percent of the population.

"I am delighted that Zihipp has secured Series A financing from Mubadala," said Bloom, chairman of Zihipp. "Mubadala has an excellent track record of investing to address the most pressing healthcare needs and we look forward to working with them to develop these exciting new treatments."

Zihipp holds an extensive exclusive licence to multiple families of patents and pending applications covering oxyntomodulin and PYY peptides analogues developed in the Bloom laboratory, as well as access to the pre-clinical and clinical data packages resulting from clinical trials Imperial College has conducted to date.

It has also entered into a partnership with Imperial College under which it has an exclusive option to receive further IP developed by the Bloom group.

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