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Feb 27, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Ember Therapeutics: Burning obesity

Ember taking two-pronged approach to fat, insulin in obesity, diabetes

Ember Therapeutics Inc. is taking two therapeutic approaches to obesity and diabetes, one that is based on novel biology and another it thinks will improve on marketed PPAR gamma agonists. The company hopes to advance a lead candidate for each program into the clinic by 2014.

The company's primary focus is brown fat biology, according to President and Interim CEO Lou Tartaglia. Brown fat burns calories to generate heat and was long known to exist in rodents and human infants, but it wasn't until 2009 that brown fat was discovered in adults.

In a paper published that year in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center found the amount of brown fat is inversely correlated with body-mass index in humans, suggesting brown fat likely makes a person leaner.

Based on this work, Ember's co-founders set about identifying molecules that could augment the conversion of white fat to "brown-like fat." Tartaglia said brown-like fat, which is derived from pre-adipocytes, behaves essentially the same as true brown fat, which is derived from pre-myocytes.

In January, co-founder Bruce Spiegelman...

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