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Two Medical Device Makers with “Gut” Efforts to control over-eating

Posted Mar 03 2009 3:09pm

The process is called neuromodulation or neurostimulation , which stimulates both the brain and the gut to curb the problem.

“EnteroMedics Inc. was established in late 2002 to develop and commercialize a new therapeutic platform for treating a wide range of acute and chronic diseases that are mediated by the vagal nerves. Due to the large unmet need for more effective surgical management of obesity, and following an in-depth analysis of how the vagus nerve affects food intake and processing, EnteroMedics has selected obesity management as its primary focus.” image

“Leptos is developing a proprietary neuromodulation therapy for chronic obesity. The treatment, delivered via a pacemaker-type device, involves electrical activation of a specific nerve in the autonomic nervous system.

We believe that this therapy may offer an effective minimally invasive, reversible surgical option for people suffering from chronic obesity. As yet, the Leptos therapy is not approved for sale in the United States and is limited to investigational use.”

Two Minnesota companies are trying to answer that question. EnteroMedics Inc. of Roseville has drawn considerable attention from investors and doctors for its promising VBLOC device, which uses electricity to block signals from the brain to the stomach, reducing the feeling of hunger. The company is now conducting a large-scale human trial and will seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.

But another local start-up has been quietly working on its own treatment. Leptos Biomedical Inc. is developing a device to stimulate a nerve that controls how fast the body burns fat, or stored energy. The Fridley-based company recently raised $10 million from venture capital firms including Thomas, McNerney & Partners of Minneapolis and Technology Partners in Palo Alto, Calif.

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