Rhythm is developing peptide therapeutics that address unmet needs in metabolic diseases: RM-493
, a small-peptide melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist, for the treatment of obesity and diabetes; and RM-131
, a small-peptide ghrelin agonist, for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal functional disorders. The company is focusing on peptides for these targets because of their high specificity that enables selective targeting of complex metabolic pathways.
Obesity and diabetes are epidemic in the U.S., with healthcare costs exceeding $147 billion annually and prevalence projected to more than double by 2030. The need for new drugs to treat obesity and diabetes is substantial, but the drug pipeline is limited. MC4R is one of the most validated biological targets in obesity that is central to the regulation of appetite and energy homeostasis. RM-493 is in Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.
Diabetic gastroparesis affects a large number of type 1 and type 2 diabetics, and other functional gastrointestinal (GI) and motility disorders affect one in four people in the U.S., with substantive morbidity and economic impact. There is an urgent need for safe, effective prokinetic drugs, but there are few FDA-approved treatments. Ghrelin is a gut hormone that regulates feeding and nutrient absorption and is a promising target for restoring gastrointestinal function. RM-131 is in Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis (DG) and other GI functional disorders.