Biocon close to finalising partnership for development of oral insulin

By Natalie Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oral insulin Clinical trial

Biocon is close to signing an agreement with a partner willing to inject cash into its experimental insulin pill, said its MD.

The Indian biotech have been on the hunt for new investors since January, when its oral insulin, IN-105, failed in a late-stage trial in patients with type-2 diabetes.

At the time the firm blamed the trial design for the bum results, which showed an unexpected improvement in the placebo group – a result the company attributed to of patients on the placebo modifying their diet and lifestyle in a way that brought down their sugar levels.

However Biocon persevered with the development, and now according to the firm’s managing director (MD) Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, it is set to thrash out a deal as soon as March.

“We are in advanced discussions with potential partners,”​ she told Reuters, India.

Vivek Shenoy, general manager and head of novel products business development and licensing, told in-PharmaTechnologist that the previous trials have actually helped the researchers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the compound.

“The earlier clinical trial helped us better understand the profile of the drug, and will help us appropriately design future studies for this drug,”​ he said.

As for the type of company Biocon are looking to partner with, Shenoy, added: “We are in discussions with partners with a global presence and the appropriate experience and a successful track record in conducting diabetes trials.

“With the help of a partner, we plan to take this product to the global market.”

The firm must still prove the efficacy of the drug to any potential partner.


If successful in its next round of trials, IN- 105 could become the first orally delivered form of insulin available to sufferers.

“As an oral insulin, IN-105 will help diabetes patients free themselves of an injectable prandial insulin,”​ said Shenoy.

“Additionally IN-105 will have multiple physiologic and clinical benefits that are impossible to find from an injectable.”

In the meantime the company is also focussing on the traditional injected delivery form after launching its reusable insulin delivery device INSUPen in October​.

Mazumdar-Shaw claims the device, which can deliver both Basalog and Insugen, has so far exceeded financial forecast.

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