Indiana University Distinguished Professor Richard DiMarchi and his colleagues of the Helmholtz Munich Institute for Diabetes and Obesity are featured in Nature’s “The ‘Breakthrough’ Obesity Drugs that have Stunned Researchers. DiMarchi states, “This accomplishment represents a huge advance in treatment of the global epidemic of obesity. These peptides of integrated biological function were first envisioned and prepared by graduate students, post-doctoral scientists, and senior research associates in my IU laboratory. The work has been published in multiple high-profile peer-reviewed publications over the course of the last decade and inspired multiple drug companies’ work in the field. The efficacy as referenced in the Nature editorial is phenomenal with decreases in waist circumference of 20 cm reported by Lilly after 18 months of tirzepatide administration. The collective achievement represents the beginning of a period where excess body weight will be managed in an analogous fashion to how excess glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure are commonly addressed by pharmacological means. The seemingly largest challenges constitute drug supply and patient access given the high initial pricing, as presented in a recent 60-Minutes presentation of the subject. I am very grateful for the support I’ve received in the Chemistry Department, the Gill Center, the College, and the University in conducting this work. It’s a reminder that sick people are counting on us, and we can make a difference in their lives, while simultaneously fulfilling our educational mandate.”
Richard Di Marchi (L) with Matthias Tschöp (R). Tschöp was Professor of Medicine and Research Director of Metabolism at the University of Cincinnati when this collaborative research was initiated. Tschöp is now the CEO of the Helmholtz Institute in Munich. Also mentioned in the Nature article is Timo Müller (not pictured) who was a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Cincinnati and now the Acting Director of the Helmholtz Munich Institute for Diabetes and Obesity.