Obesity is a known health burden in America. Around 69% of average adult Americans are considered to be overweight or obese. Apart from obvious health problems, such as the appearance of diabetes or even the higher risk to develop cancer among other diseases, obesity carries serious economic issues. Obesity-related medical treatment, along with its associated diseases, costs the US more than $200 billion in annual medical spending.
Symmetry Therapeutics Inc.’s co-founders strongly believe that lifestyle changes alone are insufficient to succeed in the battle against obesity. Additionally, some other aspects, such as a person’s biological factors or predispositions should be taken into account for a successful weight loss program. Overall, they suggest that personalized medical therapy together with lifestyle changes can actually impact people’s lives.
In light of these observations, Symmetry Therapeutics, an early stage biotech company, has developed a new class of anti-obesity compound, SYM401, to determine whether it could affect Type 2 diabetes in mice. Using a pre-existing obesity mouse model, the researchers observed that mice treated with this compound lost around 20 percent of their body weight and 50 percent of their fat mass, all of this during the span of one month.
After the proof of principle was achieved for SYM401, the company patented the compound and is now further developing it. The development process involves the expansion of a study to pre-clinical testing and at a later stage advance to potential clinical trials. However, researchers are now facing key development steps. Soon after getting the U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, they are ready to complete the phase I and II involved with clinical trials for SYM401. In order to complete the requested development steps from the FDA, the company has launched a crowdfunding campaign at igg.me/at/symmetry where advocates can take part and donate money for an accelerated clinical trial development process. The company also received support from Dr. Paul Arciero, a Purdue alumnus and tenured professor at Skidmore College, which will provide research-based tools and resources in order to promote “healthy living.”
Symmetry’s co-founder Jon Brestoff Parker commented, “Lifestyle changes alone may not be enough for some people, and biological factors need to be addressed to maximize the likelihood of a successful weight loss program. Symmetry’s belief is that the best way to tackle obesity is a combination of lifestyle changes plus effective medical therapy.”
Thomas H. Reynolds, another Symmetry’s co-founder added, “Our short-term goals are to expand our pre-clinical testing and advance to clinical trials with our lead compound within a few years. If we receive approvals from the FDA, it positions us to complete Phase I and II clinical trials shortly after that.”