Arrowhead Research (ARWR), which makes medicines in oncology and obesity based on nanotechnology, says its weight-loss drug has been performing well in a study involving obese monkeys.

The experimental drug from Ablaris Therapeutics, called Adipotide, had demonstrated weight loss and reduction in body mass index and abdominal circumference in overweight rhesus monkeys, the companies said.

The animals being treated with Adipotide lost an average of 11% of their body weight after only four weeks of treatment, according to the results, which are now published in Science Translational Medicine.

The monkeys also showed improvements in insulin residents, using about 60% less insulin after treatment compared to baseline, which the companies say suggests potential for the drug’s use in treating type-2 diabetes.

The study reveals a “promising pharmacological way to substantially reduce accumulated fat in non-human primates, and potentially humans,” the companies said in a statement.

They say the study is relevant because it was done with primates and the animals were obese because of their own actions, including over eating and lack of physical activity.

“Unlike most anti-obesity drugs, which attempt to control appetite or prevent absorption of dietary fat, Adipotide directly attacks subcutaneous and visceral fat,” the companies said. 

The drug, which is a combination of an agent that binds to a protein on the surface of fat-supporting blood vessels and of a synthetic peptide that triggers cell death, removes fat cells from the blood supply. That allows them to be reabsorbed and metabolized, according to Arrowhead.

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