Initial trials show that Zafgen Inc., run by a former Novartis AG executive, might have an edge over its competitors, especially since its experimental drug has so far not demonstrated any major safety concerns.
Unlike rival therapies that suppress appetite, Zafgen's drug, beloranib, is designed to make the body produce less fat and burn off the excess as fuel.
Beloranib works by blocking an enzyme known as methionine aminopeptidase 2, or MetAP2, which plays a key role in the production and use of fatty acids.
Apart from production of less fat, studies show the injectable drug also leads to a higher rate of fat burn and improves some key conditions related to heart safety, including reducing bad cholesterol and lowering inflammatory actions in the body. Read more