Anti-Obesity Drug Discovery and Development


Thursday, 03 April 2014

Cineworld: The O2, London, SE10 0DX, UK

Obesity, is widely recognised as the largest and fastest growing public health problem in the developed and developing world. Although prevention through education and changes to the obesogenic environment are long-term goals, treatment is required for those who are already obese. Surprisingly, however, treatment options remain quite limited. The main treatment modalities for overweight and obese individuals remain dieting and physical exercise. However some patients find that diet and exercise is not a viable option; for these patients, anti-obesity drugs can be a better alternative than surgery. The pharmacological management of obesity is therefore an exciting option. New treatments are essentially on the horizon, and novel research strategies have very recently come to the fore. This event will discuss the development of therapeutic agents that may reduce body weight by decreasing the consumption or absorption of food, and/or by increasing energy expenditure.  This is an ideal forum to exchange views, learn about treatments on the horizon and network with the experts.


This event is part of the 2014 Obesity Summit – and has CPD accreditation.


Who Should Attend

Biotech and Pharma Industry: CEOs, Chief Scientists, Group Heads, Senior and Junior Scientists, Research Managers

Academic and Research Institutes: Group and Lab Heads, Postdoctoral Scientists and Research Students

Clinical specialists: Clinicians and dietitians specialising in obesity


The deadline for abstract submissions for oral presentation is Feb 10th 2014. Abstracts for poster presentation only can be submitted up to two weeks before the event. You can download the instructions for authors at


Talks include

Antipsychotics induced obesity: Direct actions on the adipocytes

Professor Nira Ben-Jonathan, Professor of Cancer and Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati, United States

Atypical antipsychotics (AAP) are prescribed to millions of patients with mental diseases.   Although AAP ameliorate mental dysfunctions, they have serious metabolic side-effects such as weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We discovered expression of functional dopamine and serotonin receptors in human adipocytes and found  that AAP altered many of their functions.  We propose that direct actions of AAP on adipose tissue contribute to weight gain and the metabolic syndrome.  Human adipocytes could be integrated into the screening paradigm of candidate new drugs for the identification of undesirable metabolic activities prior to costly animal studies and clinical trials.

Galanin-like peptide (GALP) have anti-obesity effect via the activation of hepatic lipid metabolism

Dr Satoshi Hirako, Post-doctoral fellow, Dept of Anatomy, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Galanin-like peptide (GALP) is produced in neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus and is well known as a neuropeptide regulating feeding behavior and energy metabolism. In this study anti-obesity effect was obtained by the 7-day intranasal administration of GALP in obese mice. The respiratory exchange ratio (RER) of GALP group was lower than the saline group. In addition, fatty acid oxidation-related gene mRNA levels were increased in liver by administration of GALP. The present study indicates that anti-obese effect of GALP may be caused by anorexigenic effect and improvement of lipid metabolism in the liver.

GPCR modulators as anti-obesity therapies: did we give up too soon

Dr Douglas J. MacNeil, Director, In Vitro Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, USA

Rodent pharmacology has clearly established major roles for GPCRs in energy homeostasis. Agonists or antagonists were identified as clinical candidates for GPCR targets including MC4R, MCH1R, CNR1, NPY5R, CCKAR, and BRS3. But putative drugs for these targets failed to achieve clinically significant weight loss with acceptable tolerability. Rather than simple agonists and antagonists, effective drugs may require compounds with specific pharmacology, such as allosteric modulators, biased ligands, or compounds that only are active in receptor dimers. Validation of these GPCR targets will be reviewed, and paths forward for more effective compounds suggested.

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