A study published in the online version of
ACE2 was identified during Millennium's ongoing search for novel genes related to heart failure, which involves sequencing thousands of tissue biopsies from its 'human heart failure ventricle' cDNA library. ACE and ACE2 have only 42% similarity; ACE2 is not inhibited by lisinopril or captopril, and produces an angiotensin peptide whose function is currently unknown. "The organ and cell-specific expression of ACE2 and its unique cleavage of key vasoactive peptides suggest an essential role for ACE2 in the local renin–angiotensin system of the heart and kidney," the researchers conclude. Millennium is now working with Eli Lilley to pursue the development of drugs targeted at ACE2 for the treatment of heart failure.