Turning bad fat into good fat

Purdue alumnus makes an investment that could help curb obesity and diabetes

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—A significant investment from a Purdue University alumnus—David Campbell, a 1978 graduate from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management—and his wife, Michelle, will help further develop technology aimed at treating obesity and diabetes by turning bad fat into good fat inside the body, according to the university.
They have committed the support to Adipo Therapeutics LLC, a Purdue-based startup, which is developing a unique treatment approach for people struggling with obesity and diabetes. This treatment could improve the lives of the more than two billion people worldwide who are overweight, and the 463 million suffering from diabetes. Adipo was founded by Meng Deng, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Materials Engineering. He had support from the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Purdue’s Discovery Park District.
“Adipo Therapeutics and Meng Deng's work represent the tangible promise of hope,” Campbell said. “Deng, Karen Wurster, Purdue Research Foundation’s Wade Lange and the support of the foundation provide the ideal combination of intellect, commercial experience and institutional reputation to convert the promise to reality.”
The Adipo team uses an engineered polymeric nanoparticluate system in a product that could be first to convert energy-storing white (bad) fat to energy-burning brown (good) fat through regulation of Notch signaling pathway. Deng said this holds great promise to fill the niche by providing a unique, safe and effective solution for the millions of type 2 diabetic obese patients.
Technology used by Adipo has been licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization—more specifically, Adipo integrates two platform technologies to develop polymer-based nanotherapeutics that act directly on fat tissue to provide sustained weight loss and improved blood sugar control.
“This investment is crucial to fund our efforts to further develop our technology for translation and recruit the right mix of talents for our Adipo team,” Deng stated. “We have recently hired Karen Wurster as our business advisor, bringing with her over 20 years of diabetes and obesity experience to Adipo, and will continue to build our team in the first half of this year. It is an exciting time for Adipo, and we are fortunate to have the continuing support from the Purdue Foundry and Purdue entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Diabetes and obesity are contributing factors to developing comorbidities that include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Removing excess fat through nanoparticle injections would likely decrease the odds of developing these complications.
“Obesity is a complex and chronic disease with many complications,” commented Dr. Shannon Oates, a clinical consultant for Adipo. “I have worked for over a quarter of a century as a physician helping care for people who have diabetes or are at risk for obesity complications. Any addition to our toolbox to help treat this disease will be greatly applauded. The current epidemic of obese and overweight people in the U.S. and around the world is a major crisis and deserves all possible therapies.”
Adipo is pursuing additional funding to support continued development, clinical translation and submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company is seeking partnerships with firms and pharmaceutical companies interested in the technology.

Adapted from an article/news release by Chris Adam for the Purdue University website

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