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12:00 AM
 | 
Nov 09, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Leaping for Leptin

More than a decade of unimpressive data had dampened enthusiasm for leptin as an obesity therapeutic when Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. acquired rights to the protein from Amgen Inc. in 2006. Three years and two trials later, Amylin has data on a combination therapy approach with a leptin analog that gives the company the chance to monetize its investment.

Under a deal announced last week, the biotech will receive $75 million up front from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to co-develop and commercialize therapeutics for obesity, including a combination of Amylin's pramlintide and the metreleptin analog. Amylin is eligible for more than $1 billion in milestones, plus tiered double-digit royalties.

Leptin's role in obesity was discovered in 1994 by researchers at Rockefeller University. The hormone is produced in adipose tissues and signals to the brain via the hypothalamus how much energy is being stored and when to stop eating. Leptin levels fall as a person...

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