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New Biotech Firm Setting Up in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new biotechnology firm, Molecular Metabolism LLC, born out of a relationship with Nuclea Biotechnologies, has chosen Pittsfield as its  headquarters.

Molecular Metabolism is in the process of assembling its management team and is expected to create seven to 10 new jobs locally.

It is a development stage company focused on the discovery of biomarkers and therapeutic-based targets for metabolic syndromes and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. These biomarkers can aid physicians in determining the best, individualized courses of treatment for patients suffering from metabolic conditions, such as obesity, fatty liver disease and diabetes.

Molecular Metabolism and Nuclea Biotechnologies have established a collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, the diabetes research and care organization affiliated with Harvard Medical School, in biomarkers of insulin resistance and applications of imaging. The initial research in imaging will help identify "brown fat" in humans, a type of fat that drives energy expenditure and may potentially benefit metabolic endpoints.

Molecular Metabolism's collaboration with Joslin will assess the feasibility of using MRI and Infrared thermal imaging to measure the mass and activity of cold-activated human brown adipose tissues (BAT). The partners believe that the results of this research will provide greater insight into how Type 2 diabetes is evaluated and diagnosed with the goal of screening new therapies that stimulate generation of brown fat.  This work will be done with Dr. Aaron Cypess, assistant professor and investigator at Joslin Diabetes Center.

"Diagnostics and imaging techniques can make a significant impact on the detection and management of diabetes and its complications, and Joslin’s interest in brown fat stimulation and energy expenditure is an exciting area to apply this to," said Cypess. "We hope to advance our techniques to a stage where brown fat can be easily detected and quantified."

Patrick Muraca, interim president of Molecular Metabolism and president and CEO of Nuclea Biotechnologies, said, "Molecular Metabolism will collaborate with Nuclea in the research and development of the biomarkers. Joslin is a tremendous partner and I believe this research in brown fat imaging will help us as we work to create new tools for the treatment and diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes."

Joslin will also work with Nuclea Biotechnologies, under the direction of Dr. Mary Elizabeth Patti, assistant professor and investigator at Joslin, to apply proteomic analyses on patient cohorts in order to understand pathways leading to insulin resistance and develop biomarkers of risk of Type 2 diabetes.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with Nuclea to identify new biomarkers which could potentially be used to determine risk of diabetes and other metabolic disease," said Patti. "These efforts are crucial in the fight against diabetes, so that we can identify those individuals at the highest risk of disease, and also to individualize optimal treatment strategies."

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