Bionovo, Berkeley researcher receive NIH grant to develop obesity drugs

EMERYVILLE, Calif. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's small-business technology transfer program, part of the National Institutes of Health, has given a researcher and a drug maker a grant to develop drugs for obesity and metabolic syndrome in women.


Drug maker Bionovo announced Thursday it received the grant, which it will share with University of California at Berkeley researcher Dale Leitman. The grant will fund the first phase of a study to evaluate Bionovo’s drug based on plant tissue as a prevention for female-specific obesity and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.



Menopause in women often results in weight gain of 10 lbs. to 15 lbs. and redistribution of fat to the abdomen, which can lead to inflammation and metabolic syndrome.



“Gender differences in health and disease are widely known, yet they have not been sufficiently explored by the biopharmaceutical industry,” Bionovo chairman and CEO Isaac Cohen said. “The potential market for drugs for the treatment of female obesity is enormous.”


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