Dr. Rawlins’ Diabetes Breakthrough Wins Coveted Patent Award for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

December 6, 2017

Before joining the faculty at Roseman University’s College of Pharmacy in 2015, Dr. David Rawlins served as Executive Director of medicinal chemistry at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in Princeton, New Jersey. It was there that he led a team of researchers that invented a promising new drug to treat diabetes. The drug, sotagliflozin, has been working its way through the years-long process of clinical trials to test its effectiveness in treating both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Rawlins, sotagliflozin inhibits two different sodium-glucose cotransporters known as SGLT1 and SGLT2. SGLT1 is type 1 and type 2responsible for the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream from the food we eat. SGLT2, on the other hand, is responsible for bringing back into the blood any glucose that was lost into the urine in the kidney. Scientists at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals hypothesized that inhibiting both SGLT1 and SGLT2 would provide better glucose control in diabetics by blocking glucose absorption in the intestine as well as causing excess glucose to be excreted in the urine. . Dr. Rawlins and his team found that compounds inhibiting both targets did have a favorable preclinical profile relative to compounds selective for SGLT2. One of these compounds, sotagliflozin, entered human clinical trials.

type 1 and type 2Fast forward to fall 2016, Lexicon announced the results of three different phase 3 clinical trials of sotagliflozin which were encouraging for type 1 diabetics, improving glycemic control, blood pressure and body weight. The research also noted that the drug worked well in diabetics with lower kidney function, broadening the range of diabetics that can be successfully treated.

As a result, earlier this month, Dr. Rawlins and his former team at Lexicon were honored by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey with the 2017 Edison Patent Award in the pharmaceutical category for the patent of sotagliflozin, a drug which the Motley Fool has also proclaimed as one of the “Top 12 greatest medical breakthroughs of 2016.” The Motley Fool is an internationally recognized multimedia financial-services company that provides financial advice for investors through various stockinvesting, and personal finance services.

“As a medicinal chemist, it is rare that you get the opportunity to work on something that succeeds in helping patients,” Dr. Rawlins said. “We keep trying because we want to make a difference. I have many friends and family members that suffer from diabetes, and sincerely hope that someday their lives will be better because of this work.”type 1 and type 2

Dr. Rawlins and his Lexicon research colleagues accepted their award on November 2 at the 38th Annual Edison Patent Awards Ceremony & Reception at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Other 2017 Edison Patent Award honorees came from Avaya, BASF, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, Honeywell, Merck, NJIT, Nokia Bell Labs, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Siemens and Stevens Institute of Technology. Edison Patent Awards were handed out in 13 R&D categories, including biomaterials, biomedical, energy, environmental, imaging systems, industrial process, information technology, instrumentation, materials, medical, pharmaceutical, technology transfer and telecommunications.

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals is working with Sonafi to develop sotagliflozin for type 1 and type 2 diabetics, with the goal of bringing it to market in 2019.

Southern Nevada residents will have an opportunity to learn about Dr. Rawlins’ insights on the world of drug discovery from 5:30 to 7 pm on Thursday, January 18 at Roseman University’s Neighborhood Health Series presentation, “How Are Medicines Found, and Why Do They Cost So Much?”

type 1 and type 2Presented at Roseman University’s Summerlin campus, guests will learn about the drug discovery process, which includes basic scientific research, identification of lead molecules for drugs, and optimization of the lead. Dr. Rawlins will also discuss the drug development process which involves large scale production of the drug and clinical trials to demonstrate effectiveness. Using his personal experiences in the discovery and research of sotagliflozin, he will discuss the time and cost for these processes and how they influence the price of approved medications.

The event is free to attend and includes light food and refreshments. Register to attend at speakers.roseman.edu.

Jason Roth
Vice President, Communications
Roseman University of Health Sciences