The discovery of the incretin hormone glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and its usefulness in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) followed by the finding that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibition prevents GLP-1 inactivation, led to the discovery of DPP-728. In 1999, studies with DPP-728 established the first proof-of-concept that DPP-4 inhibition improves glycaemic control in patients with T2DM. Further efforts to improve the binding kinetics of DPP-728 resulted in the discovery of vildagliptin (LAF237). In the last 20 years, a plethora of studies conducted by Novartis in collaboration with external investigators has demonstrated the mechanism of action of vildagliptin and its efficacy as monotherapy and as an add-on therapy for patients with T2DM. The studies establish that vildagliptin is a selective DPP-4 inhibitor that blocks GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) inactivation, thereby prolonging their action, resulting in improved glycaemic control. This review aims to discuss the discovery and development of vildagliptin, with an emphasis on mechanism of action and clinical efficacy.
PMID: 29632608 [PubMed]