DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is awarded a new Phase 2 SBIR grant award to develop new medicines to fight the diabetes and obesity epidemic in the US and globally

DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM, Inc.) has learned in recent days that it has been awarded a $1.61M Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant award from the National Institutes of Health and its National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to develop novel ‘first in class’ small molecule drugs to fight multiple disease abnormalities caused by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and high blood fat such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.

DBM’s Drs. John Streiff and Deborah Mai will lead these scientific studies for the company as dual principal investigators. Dr. Streiff will oversee chemistry efforts at optimizing key chemical series and Dr. Mai will lead the biological profiling efforts in primary human fat cells (called adipocytes) from normal and diseased donors. Early experiments that laid the groundwork for this continuing study were performed by Dr. Eric Seales, a former principal with DBM, Inc.

“The small molecule drugs that we seek to develop up-regulate the endogenous production and secretion of adiponectin from human adipose cells and tissue. We are interested particularly in up-regulation of higher molecular weight forms of adiponectin, a beneficial hormone or ‘good adipokine’ secreted by human fat cells under normal conditions. Adiponectin secretion is lost progressively in patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Evidence has suggested that reduced adiponectin levels lead to loss of insulin sensitivity and hyperglycemic injury in many human tissues at risk (heart, eye, kidneys, liver and skin), making diabetes and obesity progressively worse,” explained Dr. Mai, DBM’s Chief Biological Officer. “Small molecule chemical series are being evaluated for ‘druggability’ in vivo and for novel mechanisms of action independent of the PPAR gamma transcription factors,” declared Dr. Streiff, DBM’s Chief Chemoinformatics Officer. Novel medicines in new chemical classes are being sought in this DBM Metabolic R&D program.

Diabetes and obesity are a growing epidemic in the US population as a whole and in children in particular. This epidemic first became severe in the Southeastern US where our headquarters is located in the heart of the “diabetes belt.” Roughly 30% of the population in this region is afflicted with metabolic disease that leads to many other additional ailments if untreated. “DBM felt it a company mission to attack these diseases in our region because our local and regional population is deeply afflicted by metabolic disease,” explained Dr. Erik Schwiebert, DBM’s CEO and Chief Scientific Officer. “This award will allow our company to initiate and complete the majority of the preclinical studies necessary to apply for an investigational new drug (IND) status to begin to develop a drug for this estimated $1 trillion marketplace worldwide. DBM is also incredibly humbled and honored by the continued and deep support of the NIH NIDDK to our efforts to fight this and other diseases where we share this mission and vision,” Dr. Schwiebert declared.

This program is another example of DiscoveryBioMed’s novel approach to drug discovery, namely Humanized Drug Discovery. This program uses primary and immortal human fat cells (adipocytes) at all points in this Drug Discovery Critical Path and in all validation bioassays. Primary cultures of adipocytes from normal donors, donors with type 2 diabetes and with overweight or obese condition will be used to profile specific chemical series to determine those small molecule drugs chosen for further development. DBM’s vibrant CRO services business and its other R&D programs in Respiratory and in Renal/Urologic/Oncologic disease areas also are specialized in the use of normal and diseased human cell lines and cultures, platforms that increase relevance and lower risk in the Drug Discovery enterprise. See the DBM website,, for more information about the company, its new foci, and its scientific strategies and methods.

About DiscoveryBioMed, Inc.

DBM focuses on Humanized Drug Discovery, the use of intact, living human cells derived from normal or diseased adult tissue as physiologically-relevant and disease-relevant platforms on which to discover novel therapeutics. Said another way, the end goal is to administer the final approved drugs to human patients; therefore, why not screen therapeutic candidates on human cells? Our programs use human cell platforms to discover and validate novel drugs for all of its R&D programs in Renal/Urologic/Oncologic, Respiratory, and Metabolic areas. DBM’s complementary CRO services business establishes human cell platforms for clients and it also uses such platforms to profile lead assets for clients in bioassays that it performs. We specialize in the same three therapeutic areas now to provide focus. See the DBM website,, for more information about the company, its new foci, and its scientific strategies and methods.

Contact information:
Dr. Erik M. Schwiebert, Ph.D.
205-918-8138, ext 1

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