Adipotide, Once Thought Holy Grail of Weight Loss, Falls Off Radar

Back in 2011, the hot news in obesity research was Adipotide. This peptide would target adipose tissue and destroy the blood supply, essentially KILLING fat cells. Not like those stupid scam ads, this stuff was intended to be a fat Terminator and KILL FAT CELLS for real! It sounded like a Holy Grail for weight loss and there was a lot of excitement when it was cleared for human trials in early 2012 by the FDA. But then something odd happened. Adipotide seemed to fall off the radar.

I went looking for an update and found that the Adipotide page on the website for its developer, Arrowhead Research, had not been updated since those Phase I Clinical Trials were announced. That doesn’t look good. Since Arrowhead is publicly traded, the real place to look for information would be in finance news. No updates on Adipotide. If there was good news, they’d definitely want to be publicizing it to drive investor interest especially since Arrowhead’s stock price has taken a beating in the last couple of years, dropping below $2 a share. Back when biotechs were all the daytrading rage in the late 90s, Arrowhead had actually traded over $120 by early 2000. Checking the press releases for the past year, Arrowhead is grabbing headlines with a treatment for liver disease and a drug for Hepatitis B that’s in Phase II clinical trials. The news seems to be promising as the stock price is on the rise and analysts are recommending the Texas-based research firm as a buy.

So what of Adipotide? Peptides are simple proteins. They function in the body as neurotransmitters, sending signals and influencing hormonal response. As I understand it, they are fairly easy to synthesize. For that reason, peptides are popular for body building supplementation. Adipotide is turning up on websites that sell injectable supplements, the kind that would be banned in professional competition.


I found a couple of blogs where individuals described their personal experiences with trying Adipotide. Both report experiencing severe pain and lumps developing under the skin at the injection site. Kidney damage is a side effect but it’s supposed to be reversible after stopping the injections. As if that’s reassuring! One person who injected himself with Adipotide experienced serious pain, hypoglycemia, extreme thirst, nausea, insomnia, cloudy urine, and what he called “chronic toxicity after two weeks of dosing.” Yeah, let’s not go there.

Another blogger excitedly announced how he planned to give himself a 28-day trial of Adipotide. He only wrote for the first five days and admitted to eating cookies and chips. So much for that guy.

With no updates on the clinical trials to be found, they must not have turned out well. It’s not the first time a highly-hyped obesity wonder drug failed miserably. Millions were spent to research a drug that would have increased sensitivity to Leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite. You might remember when Phen-Fen was pulled from the market for causing heart valve damage. We can’t know what Arrowhead Research is doing with Adipotide unless they release a statement but if some other drug trial is giving their stock price a boost, I wouldn’t count on any news.


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    • Bebe on July 20, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Some moron stuck himself with this stuff for two weeks? ONCE wasn’t enough to catch a clue?

    • Stile4aly on August 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Keep in mind that a Phase 1 clinical trial is very early in the process. At this point, their basically determining if the drug is even tolerable by humans and in what dosage so it’s going to require weeks to months of dosage testing for a single trial, and probably years of data collection before approval to move to Phase 2. I’ve also read the blog by the gentleman who tried to self dose and experienced painful lumps, which suggests that injection directly into fatty tissue is probably the wrong protocol and that intramuscular or intravenous injections might be a better option.

    I’m personally hoping that this proves to be successful as it seems to me that this may be the only approach which addresses the (largely unknown) hormonal role played by white cells to promote obesity and to actually destroy those cells rather than merely shrinking them, which should lead to long term stability.

    1. Good points but Arrowhead seems to be putting the spotlight on that Hepatitis B drug and should continue for as long as their stock keeps getting buy recommendations.

      I searched the registry database for clinical trials and there are no updates for Adipotide for the past two years.

      Who knows, if there’s ever a breakthrough with Adipotide, they may yet figure out how to do something with Leptin! Keep watching the financial pages. The first news would appear there!

    • mark on August 27, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    You are looking in the wrong place. The trial name for Adipotide is Prohibitin TP-01 and the trial in humans is on going (see link below). As this is the first time it is being used in humans the Phase I trial is being done in humans with a terminal condition with no other treatment options. (in this case males with incurable prostate cancer who are willing to help advance scientific knowledge). As you can imagine those types of patients don’t grow on trees so the recruitment process will be slow.

    Re the idiots who had the product synthesized and trialled it themselves prior to FDA approval; that was manufactured for scientific use only and was never intended to be injected in humans. It is extremely unlikely that a naturally occurring peptide caused that level on injection site reaction. What is far more likely is that the scientific-grade product they used contain trace amounts of some very nasty chemicals used in the manufacturing process. The manufacturing processes for human use are far more rigorous and have far more clean-up procedures than the processes used for scientific-research grade chemicals.

    Link to the adipotide study –

    1. Interesting info, Mark. I did some googling around and it looks to me like this stuff started out as Prohibitin TP01 with clinical trials for prostate cancer treatment started in 2010, and somebody along the way had to have decided that its fat-killing ability should be studied as an obesity treatment. The description for the prostate cancer study couldn’t be more tempting for considering the weight loss possibilities:

      The Study Drug:
      PROHIBITIN-TP01 is designed to destroy “white fat” (the type of fat that collects around the stomach and is associated with obesity in men). Fat is known to produce substances that can promote prostate cancer growth. Investigators want to learn if decreasing fat can slow the growth of prostate cancer.

      The Prohibitin trials are on-going, sponsored by MD Anderson and slated for completion in 2016. The information page includes lots of links to study updates.

      Arrowhead’s website describes Adipotide as licensed from MD Anderson with the cancer center bearing the costs of preclinical studies and trials. Right, we knew that.

      I searched extensively and there isn’t even a closed study listed for Adipotide. A search for “obesity” returns over 5500 results so I tried several searches such as “obesity and apoptosis.” I found that MD Anderson is currently involved with 47 studies and Arrowhead is on 31. I couldn’t find anything that sounded even remotely like it was similar to the Adipotide study.

      The clinical trials you cite are for prostate cancer treatment. If the treatment works by shrinking certain fat cells, maybe research will resume in this area at some point after the current cancer studies conclude in 2016. But considering that even the slightest glimmer of good news for an obesity drug would send Arrowhead’s stock price soaring. I stand by my contention that with no information to be found anywhere, Adipotide/Prohibitin as an obesity treatment has been put completely on hold or abandoned.

      I wrote to the PR firm that handled Arrowhead’s Adipotide press releases. I’ll update you if I hear back.

    • jamie on September 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I researched this a while back. I have actually invested in this company a year and a half ago. The researchers that were involved in the adipotide research @ MD Anderson Cancer Center took higher level jobs at the University of New Mexico. Could not find much more about ongoing research. I believe Arrowhead is so focused right now of what they believe to be a sure thing with the Arc-520 HBV treatment and put Adipotide on the back burner. I really had high hopes for adipotide and believe that it still has merit since it is a polar opposite type of thinking on how to treat obesity. I still believe that research into this will continue at some point. i would really like to hear something from Arrowhead research on this.

    • Andrew on January 13, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Yeah, it looks like adipotide is heading no where fast. Even the guys buying it off the internet (with unquestionably purity) or identification have not had any real results. Looks like it might be a bust, but lets hope not!

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