Eolo Pharma initiates human study of drug against obesity and type 2 diabetes

Eolo Pharma, the drug design and development company founded and driven by researchers and entrepreneurs from the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo (IP Montevideo) and the University of the Republic (Udelar), obtained approval to initiate the first human clinical trial of its compound MVD1. This potential drug was developed for the prevention and treatment of obesity and its metabolic complications such as type 2 diabetes.

“This is a milestone for the region and for Uruguay in particular, since the drugs we consume in South America were developed by other countries. Despite having a critical mass of research in life sciences with very significant contributions to knowledge, it has not yet been possible to translate that knowledge from the laboratory into further developments that bring them closer to the patient,” highlights Eolo Pharma’s scientific team.

Created in 2018, the company is dedicated to developing new molecules for the treatment of human diseases. As a result of that work, it currently has a portfolio of 60 compounds to treat metabolic, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases.

One of these molecules is the compound MVD1 (named after the city of Montevideo), which has already met the regulatory requirements for safety, efficacy and toxicity in vitro and in animals. The first human clinical trial (Phase I) will now begin, which, in a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled manner, will study the safety of the drug in healthy volunteers. It will also look at some preliminary elements of efficacy in obese patients.

“These trials will be conducted in Australia and will be completed by the end of 2023. If successful, Eolo plans to partner with a pharmaceutical company to conduct the next necessary clinical trials before clinical use,” said Eolo Pharma CEO Maria Pia Garat.

Together with Garat, the Eolo Pharma team consists of researchers Carlos Escande (IP Montevideo), Virginia López (Faculty of Chemistry / IP Montevideo) and Carlos Batthyány (IP Montevideo). In addition, they work in collaboration with young researchers, advisors and the company’s international board of directors.

Contributions and networking

Based on its scientific work, Eolo Pharma sought partners to take its compounds to more advanced stages of development. As a result of this work, it received funding of more than US$7 million from investors, the Argentine venture capital fund CITES and a global biotech-focused venture capital firm, as well as grants from ANII, Udelar, and IP Montevideo.

The company obtained its first seed investment from CITES, the venture capital fund and startup accelerator of the Sancor Seguros Group in Argentina, together with a co-investment from the Argentine government’s Science Accelerator program.

After a first round of investment (A1) to carry out all preclinical tests in laboratory animals, Eolo closed a second round of investment (Series A2) in 2022, with the participation of CITES (which invested again) together with a group of international investors led by Paul Elberse (FICUS Advisory) and Securitas Bioscience, who were interested in having access to opportunities to finance knowledge-based projects with potential impact on society.

The knowledge generated by Eolo Pharma’s scientific team is protected by invention patents with worldwide coverage that were co-developed between IP Montevideo and Udelar, and licensed to the company.

In order to follow this path from the study of a new compound from the laboratory to the possibility of producing a drug, Eolo Pharma has a team of international advisors of recognized trajectory in drug development with presence in the United States, Italy, Switzerland and Australia. It has also participated in many international fairs, attracting the interest of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the market.