Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:REGN) has announced that its Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) has discovered rare genetic mutations associated with protection against obesity.
RGC researchers learned that people with at least one inactive copy of the GPR75 gene tend to weigh about 12 pounds less than those without that mutation. In addition, those individuals faced a 54% reduced risk of obesity.
The center made the finding after sequencing 640,00 exomes, which are part of the genome composed of exons.
A study published in Science that summarized the findings concluded that inhibiting “GPR75 may be a therapeutic strategy for obesity.”
Regeneron is working with partners such as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to develop drug candidates that mimic the genetically afforded protection.
The mutations were only present in roughly one out of every 3,000 people. Some 645,000 volunteers from the U.K., U.S. and Mexico, participated in the study.
Regeneron scientists collaborated with the New York Medical College to confirm the finding in genetically engineered mice. Mice on a high-fat diet without the copy of the GPR75 gene gained 44% less weight than mice without the mutation.
Another experimental therapy for obesity, tirzepatide, from Eli Lilly, recently demonstrated its ability to lead to significant weight reductions in obese patients in a NEJM study.
Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide, which recently won approval from FDA as an obesity treatment, tripled weight loss when paired with behavioral therapy in a Phase 3 trial. A recent op-ed published in JAMA proclaimed that semaglutide could usher in a new dawn for obesity treatment.