Boston Therapeutics On The Verge of a Blood Sugar Breakthrough–An Interview With CEO Dr. Platt
Although carbohydrate intake can lead to a rise in blood sugar and increase one’s risk of diabetes, cutting-edge research suggests that complex carbohydrate chemistry is one key to reducing the uptake of sugar into the bloodstream.
We interviewed Dr. David Platt, CEO of Boston Therapeutics, to discuss the innovative chemistry being incorporated into PAZ320, a complex carbohydrate drug candidate for lowering blood sugar levels.
InformationAboutDiabetes: You are the CEO at Boston Therapeutics, which is currently developing a drug called PAZ320 to help with Type 2 Diabetes. How does this drug work to fight high blood sugar?
Dr. Platt: It is well established by the scientific community that there is a strong link between high blood sugar and diabetes. All anti-diabetes drugs are designed to lower blood sugar. PAZ320 is a drug designed to lower blood sugar via a unique mechanism of action: by blocking the enzymes in the intestine that digest sugars in the food.
IAD: What studies were down by your team at Boston Therapeutics to determine that this complex carbohydrate-based drug would help with post-meal elevation of blood sugar?
Platt: The company conducted Phase I and Phase II trials to demonstrate the effect of PAZ320 on blood sugar.
IAD: How will post-meal glycemic control help diabetics in the long run?
Platt: People with a blood sugar problem cannot eliminate the blood sugar quickly after a meal. Eventually, this condition will result in an increased amount of glucose bound to hemoglobin (A1C), which restricts the amount of oxygen in the red blood cells. This undesirable activity will result in a condition called hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, which hurts tissues and organs in the body.
IAD: The PAZ320 compound is currently being tested in a clinical trial. Can you tell me a little about this study?
Platt: In the Phase II clinical study, PAZ320 was given to people who are on other anti-diabetes medications such as metformin and PP4. They took PAZ320 before eating 50 grams of rice. All patients had a continuous glucometer attached to them to measure their blood glucose level, which was plotted on a graph and known as the Area Under the Curve (AUC). The same patients had the same test administered without PAZ320 before the meal. This kind of study is called a "crossover study" because each patient serves as his or her own control. PAZ320 reduced the AUC, and the difference demonstrates the amount of reduction of blood glucose.
IAD: How many people are participating in this trial and for how long?
Platt: There were 24 people in the trial. After a year and a half it is completed.
IAD: Are there any results from the trial as of yet?
Platt:The results show that the elevation of the blood glucose was reduced by 40 percent after a meal.
IAD: What precautions is the Boston Therapeutics team taking to ensure the safety of the clinical trial participants?
Platt: The clinical trials were approved by the Investigational Review Board of Dartmouth Medical Center in New Hampshire prior to the trials. PAZ320 as a drug is manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and managed by an independent Contract Research Organization (CRO).
IAD: This drug appears to be of use to both diabetics and pre-diabetics. Does the drug work differently for diabetics compared to pre-diabetics? Can it possible stop the onset of diabetes altogether?
Platt: The drug works the same for pre-diabetics and all diabetics. PAZ320 may reverse diabetes, but this is a very expensive question to answer. Only partnership with a larger pharmaceutical company and further clinical trials will answer this question. PAZ320 is definitely a drug people will take for life to maintain healthy blood sugar after meals.
IAD: Boston Therapeutics is also working on another Type 2 Diabetes drug called BTI-7, a chewable-dose form of the anti-diabetes drug metformin. Can you explain how this drug works within the body to fight Type 2 Diabetes?
Platt: This is a formulation change for metformin for people who cannot take a regular tablet. There is no superiority claim to non-chewable metformin. This new formulation is similar in terms of mechanism of action to the tablet metformin.
IAD: Is this drug specifically aimed at diabetics, or does it also work for pre-diabetics as well?
Platt: PAZ320 is aimed at diabetics and pre-diabetics. Obviously there is a great need among pre-diabetics to adopt a nontoxic medication to control blood sugar.
IAD: Have there been any clinical trials planned for BTI-7 as well?
Platt: BTI-7 does not require clinical trials for efficacy, only bio-equivalency to metformin in a pill form. The company is in the planning stage to submit Phase III clinical trials for PAZ320 to the FDA.
IAD: Are there any other Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes treatments that you and your company are currently working on? If so, what exactly do these other treatments entail?
Platt: The company is current working on a drug to prevent the ‘diabetic foot’ condition, in which a patient’s foot eventually gets amputated.
IAD: How did you become interested in the pharmaceutical field? Was diabetes in particular of focus of yours, and if so, how did you become interested in it?
Platt: My special interest was always in carbohydrate science and polymers made from carbohydrates, and how to utilize them as drugs. With my colleagues, I edited two textbooks in the field, one titled Carbohydrate Drug Design and the other titled Galectin. In the last few years, I have paid attention to diabetes because I saw the need for better technology in the non-systemic environment (in the intestine). Only one drug has been developed for the non-systemic environment to prevent glucose formation. However, this drug, called Acarbose, has side effects with limited functionality. Our goal is to develop a better drug with no side effects.