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Purdue-Based Startup Technology Helping Treat Obesity, Diabetes
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/14/2018

Imagine being able to turn bad fat into good fat inside your own body without exercising, but rather a simple injection.

That's the goal of technology from a Purdue University-based startup, which has received a federal grant for its work to help people struggling with obesity and diabetes.

More than one-third of Americans are obese, and nearly 10 percent have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obesity is also a contributing factor to developing Type 2 diabetes. So, removing excess fat through nanoparticle injections would likely decrease the odds of developing that disease.

Adipo Therapeutics LLC received a Small Business Innovative Research grant of $198,323 from the National Institutes of Health to further develop and optimize its technology platform to help people with obesity and diabetes.

The technology aligns with Purdue's giant leaps celebration, acknowledging the university's global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. Those are the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

"Obesity is driven by a systemic energy surplus in bad fat," said Meng Deng, an assistant professor in Purdue's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, and School of Materials Engineering, who founded Adipo. "Built upon our interdisciplinary collaboration with Shihuan Kuang, professor of animal sciences, this funding is very helpful and will allow us to further develop our engineered polymeric nanoparticluate system to safely and effectively convert energy-storing bad fat to energy-burning good fat through regulation of Notch signaling pathway."

SBIR supports small businesses in the United States by making research and development investments in technologies that have a strong potential for commercialization. A key objective is to translate promising technologies to the private sector and enable life-saving innovations to reach consumer markets.

Adipo Therapeutics integrates two platform technologies to develop polymer-based nanotherapeutics that act directly on fat tissue and maintain weight loss. A video about Adipo is available at https://youtu.be/9RK7nNbGwnU.

"Our technology holds great promise to offer unique value with targeted sustainable weight loss, improved glucose control, and minimized off-target side effects," Deng said. "The support from Purdue Foundry and entrepreneurial ecosystem has been so incredible to help us get this far."

Adipo is seeking funding to support further development and clinical translation. The company also seeks partnerships with firms and pharmaceutical companies interested in the technology. Deng can be reached via email at deng65@purdue.edu or by phone at 765-494-1190.

Technology used by Adipo has been licensed through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

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