Validation of Hmgi-c as a Drug Target in Obesity

Period of Performance: 08/01/2001 - 07/31/2003


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hmgene, Inc.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Principal Investigator


The unique, novel approach of HMGene to obesity treatment is to develop drugs that act directly on adipose tissue. The goal of Phase II will be to further validate HMGI-C, an architectural transcription factor which regulates gene expression in adipogenesis, as a drug target in obesity. In Phase I, it was shown that inactivation of HMGI-C reverses the obesity induced by leptin deficiency. Phase II will extend those studies to show that the same holds true for diet induced obesity which is a more physiological model and more closely parallels the human disease. As HMGI-C is a transcriptional regulator and sits at the apex of a genomic cascade, DNA microarray and RNA differential display technology will be used to identify genes in the HMGI-C genomic pathway which will provide novel drug targets. Finally, as the ultimate goal is to develop a safe, effective therapeutic for the treatment of obesity, both biochemical and cellular based assays will be developed in order to screen for small molecule inhibitors of HMGI-C which may be useful in the treatment of obesity. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: Successful completion of this project would open up new prospects of the discovery of effective, clinically valuable anti-obesity drugs, which would have an enormous commercial potential. It is estimated that the U.S. mark for a prescription anti-obesity drug is approximately $ 1 billion in annual sales. For an over-the-counter drug, potential market is believed to be $10 billion.