A person receives a test for diabetes during Care Harbor LA free medical clinic in Los Angeles, California September 11, 2014. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

The Yabao Pharmaceutical Company in China has announced its second strategic collaboration with US firm Eli Lilly and Company to develop a new treatment for diabetic patients worldwide. The parties aim to develop a new, “promising therapeutic approach” for both early-stage and advanced diabetes with Lilly’s special compound, called SGLT1.

The sodium-glucose linked transporter inhibitor, or SGLT1 molecule reduces glucose and insulin to enhance the metabolic state and potentially the health of beta cells, without causing side effects like body weight gain or hypoglycemia. Yabao said that the molecule would be effective when combined with other diabetes drugs.

The molecule comes from the work of Lilly, which has already completed the Phase I study of its SGLT1 inhibitor programme in Singapore. The SGLT1 has also been taken into extensive pre-clinical development.

The SGLT1 will be developed and commercialised by Yabao in China, while Lilly will retain its rights for the compound in all other markets. The second strategic collaboration comes after Lilly and Yabao's announcement in 2014 to develop Lilly's glucokinase activator, LY2608204.

For the new partnership, the parties aim to identify a strategic development plan for China, with Yabao taking the responsibility to perform and fund all developments. However, the financial terms for the current development were not disclosed.

"Lilly's SGLT1 Inhibitor programme is based on a mechanistic understanding and chemistry approach that has the potential to enable the development of a best-in-class agent,” said Dr Peng Wang, president R&D, Yabao Pharmaceutical Company, in a statement. "This collaboration is also another example of Yabao's continued commitment to collaborate and develop promising science in China."

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