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ACS Chem Biol. 2017 Aug 18;12(8):2107-2116. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00218. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

A Hydrogel-Microsphere Drug Delivery System That Supports Once-Monthly Administration of a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist.

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ProLynx , 455 Mission Bay Blvd. South, Suite 145, San Francisco, California 94158, United States.
DGP Scientific Inc. , Del Mar, California 92014, United States.
Gubra ApS , Horsholm Kongevej 11B, 2970 Horsholm, Denmark.
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco , 600 16th Street, San Francisco, California 94158, United States.


We have developed a chemically controlled very long-acting delivery system to support once-monthly administration of a peptidic GLP-1R agonist. Initially, the prototypical GLP-1R agonist exenatide was covalently attached to hydrogel microspheres by a self-cleaving β-eliminative linker; after subcutaneous injection in rats, the peptide was slowly released into the systemic circulation. However, the short serum exenatide half-life suggested its degradation in the subcutaneous depot. We found that exenatide undergoes deamidation at Asn28 with an in vitro and in vivo half-life of approximately 2 weeks. The [Gln28]exenatide variant and exenatide showed indistinguishable GLP-1R agonist activities as well as pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects in rodents; however, unlike exenatide, [Gln28]exenatide is stable for long periods. Two different hydrogel-[Gln28]exenatide conjugates were prepared using β-eliminative linkers with different cleavage rates. After subcutaneous injection in rodents, the serum half-lives for the released [Gln28]exenatide from the two conjugates were about 2 weeks and one month. Two monthly injections of the latter in the Zucker diabetic fatty rat showed pharmacodynamic effects indistinguishable from two months of continuously infused exenatide. Pharmacokinetic simulations indicate that the delivery system should serve well as a once-monthly GLP-1R agonist for treatment of type 2 diabetes in humans.

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