Xconomy Report: Fight Fat With Fat

By Xconomy.com

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Dec. 16, 2011

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Just imagine if you could use your existing body fat to burn off body fat. (Tim Lewis/Wikimedia)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Drugs that fight obesity by burning off existing fat? The idea sounds far-fetched, but a new Boston biotech firm, Ember Therapeutics, has raised $34 million to develop drugs that tap into a new understanding of brown fat, a bodily tissue that could help people burn off the more-familiar white fat. Other companies have failed to bring new weight-loss drugs to market, but with an estimated one-third of U.S. adults obese, the potential is huge.
 
Elsewhere in local life sciences, one of the biggest companies is getting a new CEO. Jeff Leiden will take the reins of Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Feb. 1, 2012, just as the firm faces new competition for its flagship hepatitis C drug.
 
In tech news, IBM continues its buying spree in Massachusetts. Big Blue is picking up Burlington software firm Emptoris for an undisclosed sum, marking its 20th acquisition in the Bay State since 2003.
 
And here’s a deal to watch next week: Newton-based TripAdvisor plans to issue an initial public offering on Dec. 21. The fast-growing travel review site has been part of Expedia since 2004, but is now being spun out as an independent, publicly traded company.



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

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