Phil L’Huillier, CatalYm CEO

Ger­man biotech CatalYm rais­es $50M to flip weight loss tar­get for can­cer

GDF15 might sound fa­mil­iar. It’s a pro­tein that Am­gen, Mer­ck and Eli Lil­ly built analogs for in at­tempts to make new weight loss drugs. But those drugs large­ly failed — and Am­gen, the last stand­ing of the three — qui­et­ly pulled the plug on its GDF15 pro­gram in Jan­u­ary.

But GDF15 is not dead. The sci­ence be­hind the weight loss drugs goes back to the ob­ser­va­tion that some can­cer pa­tients have high lev­els of GDF15 and lose a lot of weight, so can­cer re­searchers have been mak­ing an­ti­bod­ies that in­hib­it the pro­tein in­stead of mim­ic­k­ing it.

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