Following a green light from the FDA for its weight-loss prescription medication Wegovy in mid-2021, Danish pharma Novo Nordisk is telegraphing its ambition to be a major contributor in the fight against obesity. It has struck up a partnership with rising Swiss biotech startup EraCal Therapeutics to investigate food intake regulation and other metabolic characteristics. EraCal, which originated at Harvard University and the University of Zurich, will lend Novo Nordisk a hand in new molecule research in the interest of finding potential obesity-treating molecules.
EraCal's Chairperson, Ann Kessler, has an established track record in weight loss programs via previous senior research positions with Roche. There, she was instrumental in bringing weight-loss medication Xenical to market. Josua Jordi, EraCal's CEO, said, "Combining EraCal’s phenotypic screening platform with Novo Nordisk's expertise within pharmaceutical peptides and metabolic diseases will contribute to the discovery of novel drug candidates for the treatment of obesity."
To that end, the two companies will collaborate in investigating new molecules with zebrafish larvae, which have recently become a popular complementary vertebrate model at various stages of drug discovery and development. With this, the partners hope to gain a better understanding of the signaling pathways with potential to be medication targets for metabolic health regulation.