Achieving the optimal combination of multiple glucose measurements and insulin injections provides a complex daily situation for most insulin-dependent diabetes patients with currently available insulin products. To date, several fast-acting and long-acting insulins have been developed. However, while the pharmacokinetic profiles have been optimized, it has remained an elusive goal for decades to develop a Glucose Responsive Insulin (GRI), which can be responsive to the fluctuations in blood glucose concentrations during the day. Here we present an unprecedented GRI concept. The concept is based on the hydrolysis of a cleavable linker that is covalently bound to insulin. The chemical nature of this central linker is designed to rapidly release active insulin when glucose rises above euglycemia (5 mM), and this release of active insulin will increase with increasing blood glucose concentration. The second element of the concept is an albumin-mediated inactivation of the GRI by lipidation. After injection, the GRI will bind to albumin and circulate as a depot, resulting in a slow release of insulin like seen with other basal insulins such as insulin Detemir. At the linker level, we have tested three concentrations of glucose, and glucose responsiveness was demonstrated by a decrease in reaction time with increasing glucose concentration. Moreover, fully conjugated GRI molecules were tested in 90% pancreatectomized rats, a model of type 1 diabetes, demonstrating significant and long-lasting glucose lowering effect as compared to control. Overall, we have demonstrated the feasibility of providing a GRI approach, which combines the properties of a basal insulin with that of a bolus insulin. With the circulating depot approach the concept also holds a promise for liver preference. Ultimately our approach could provide a safe insulin for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes with very low risk of side effects.


K. Mannerstedt: Employee; Self; Gubra. E. Engholm: Employee; Self; Gubra. N.K. Mishra: Employee; Self; Gubra. M. Lundh: Employee; Self; Gubra. N. Buch-Månson: None. L.N. Fink: Employee; Self; Gubra. Stock/Shareholder; Self; Novo Nordisk A/S. S.L. Pedersen: None. P.J. Pedersen: Employee; Self; Gubra. P. Le-Huu: Employee; Self; Gubra, Novo Nordisk A/S. Employee; Spouse/Partner; Novo Nordisk A/S. J. Lai: Employee; Self; Gubra. K.J. Jensen: Consultant; Self; Gubra. Stock/Shareholder; Self; Gubra. K. Fosgerau: Stock/Shareholder; Self; Gubra.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at