Compounds in development act on targets like fatty acid synthase and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1.

FASgen was awarded a $1.4 million SBIR phase 2 NIH grant for continued research in obesity. The money will help optimize and move the company’s compounds into clinical trials.

“This grant supplements the company’s extensive product development efforts in the metabolic disease field,” says Susan Medghalchi, Ph.D., FASgen’s principal investigator under the grant. “The weight loss effects seen to date in preclinical in vivo experiments have applications in various indications including obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease including, specifically, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.”

FASgen is studying the effects of inhibition of the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway on the regulation of appetite and weight loss. The firm has developed various families of compounds that act on well-identified targets in the pathway, including fatty acid synthase (FAS), carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (CPT-1), and mitochondrial glyceraol-3aclytransferase (GPAT). The research is partly conducted in cooperation with labs at Johns Hopkins University.

FASgen was founded in 2000 by four researchers from Johns Hopkins to create therapeutics based on the selective inhibition of fatty acid biosynthesis. The company has an exclusive license from Johns Hopkins to more than 15 years of research in the field.

The company’s metabolic program runs in parallel with its efforts to develop a different set of FAS inhibitor compounds for use in the treatment of cancer, notes chairman, Eric F. Stoer. The oncology program is partnered with Johnson & Johnson. An additional group of compounds have shown potential in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) including multiple drug-resistant TB and latent TB infections.

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