Symmetry Medical Scores $30K Crowdfunding Goal to Support Anti-Obesity Compound

Published: Oct 14, 2015

Symmetry Therapeutics Scores $30K Crowdfunding Goal to Support Anti-Obesity Compound
October 14, 2015
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

PHILADELPHIA – Symmetry Therapeutics, a startup company developing anti-obesity therapies, hit a fundraising goal of $30,000 through crowdsourcing means, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported this morning.

The company slipped past the fundraising goal by a mere $133. But, the amount raised beyond the goal wasn’t as important as engaging with the community, Jon Brestoff Parker, company co-founder and chief executive officer, told the Journal. He said the engagement with the community keeps the company “accountable and transparent to our supporters and stakeholders, including the patients we aim to help.”

On the company bio page, Parker said part of his research goals are driven by his own battles with obesity.

In addition to Parker, Symmetry was co-founded by Milad Alucozai, who serves as chief operating officer, and Thomas Reynolds, chief scientific officer.

According to the company’s Indiegogo fundraising page, all proceeds raised through crowdfunding will be used to develop the anti-obesity therapies and will not be used to supplement salaries. The fundraising page was set up approximately two months ago. The anti-obesity initiative was supported by 131 financial backers.

Symmetry’s lead anti-obesity compound is SYM401. According to Symmetry’s website, early clinical trials for SYM401 has demonstrated a “decrease in fat mass” of 50 percent in one month. The tests were conducted on mice pre-existing obesity. In the tests, the mice lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass.

“Associated with this large reduction in fat mass is a significant improvement in insulin action. We have therefore established proof-of-principle that SYM401 decreases obesity and improves insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes,” Symmetry said on its website.

Parker told the Journal the company is studying the compound to learn exactly how SYM401 works. He said it appears the compound “decreases desired food intake, and may promote changes in skeletal muscle associated with increased fat burning,” the Journal reported.

Symmetry said its SYM401 therapy has received three U.S. patents as a treatment for obesity and pre-diabetes. The company said it is conducting pre-clinical studies necessary to obtain Investigational New Drug status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to initiate clinical trials.

Obesity is an ever expanding concern for the healthcare community. Researchers expect 50 percent of the world’s population will be considered overweight or obese by 2030. Obesity can lead to a number of other health-related issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart and stroke concerns and more. About one-third of the U.S. adult population are considered obese, with obesity-related costs in the United States hitting $200 billion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said.

While crowdfunding has proven successful for Symmetry and other companies, the FDA is keeping a close watch on how it’s used, the Journal said. Currently, the FDA prohibits companies from using crowdfunding to sell or take pre-orders of medical devices that have not received FDA clearance, the Journal said.

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