Obesity target of new Aus biotech firm

A new Australian biotech company will develop drugs for obesity and liver disease caused by toxic fats in the body.

Developing drugs to combat obesity and liver disease caused by an unhealthy 'western' diet is the focus of a new biotech firm launched in Australia.

Cincera has attracted $7 million from the private Medical Research Commercialisation Fund to target conditions associated with obesity and an increasingly common fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

"There are many aspects of the disease that could be improved by these drugs, from treating liver or kidney dysfunction through to possible treatments for certain cancers," Cincera's Chief Scientific Officer Professor Stuart Pitson said on Monday.

Diets high in saturated fats and processed carbohydrates can alter the make-up of fats in the body, producing "toxic" fats in the organs which can lead to serious obesity-related illness, researchers found.

Through collaboration with the team at Melbourne's Monash University scientists already had anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic drugs that could be developed into potential treatments for obesity and liver diseases.

Cincera director Dr Michael Bettess said it was important for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle as diseases like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis were preventable.

"For the many people who do suffer from this serious disorder a drug-based treatment is really their only option and needed urgently," Dr Bettess said.

Source: AAP

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