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GEN News Highlights : Apr 18, 2008

Obetech and Scandinavian Clinical Nutrition Form Joint Venture to Combat Virus-Induced Obesity

New company will combine Obetech’s diagnostic and SCN’s antiviral technologies.

Obetech and Scandinavian Clinical Nutrition (SCN) are forming a joint venture to commercialize diagnostics and therapeutics related to adenovirus 36 (Ad-36), a common cold virus that has been associated with obesity.

The newly formed Swedish company, Scandivir, will kick off with a diagnostic already developed by Obetech and  antiviral technologies from SCN, which is a nutraceutical firm. SCN will contract Obetech to develop more diagnostics and therapeutic solutions. These will be licensed to Scandivir for promotion and distribution.

Currently, Obetech offers a diagnostic test that checks for Ad-36 antibodies in the blood. By confirming an individual has been infected with Ad-36, the test can help them predict future weight problems and/or explain unexpected weight gain, the companies note. Obetech is beginning research work to identify drugs that prevent weight gain in Ad-36 infected people and that produce weight loss in overweight or obese people.

At last year’s national meeting of the American Chemical Society, findings were presented showing that infection with Ad-36 transforms adult stem cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells. Stem cells not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged. Previous research found that 30% of obese people were infected with Ad-36 in comparison to 11% of lean individuals.