Available Technologies

Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.


Protein Sequences for Therapeutic Applications in Management of Obesity, Cachexia and Nausea




Non-naturally occurring protein sequences that enhance or suppress the activity of hormone associated with obesity and nausea


Problem (or motivation)


Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF15) is a broadly expressed hormone, whose level often correlates with progression of many diseases. It has been shown in multiple species that the elevated level of GDF15 drives weight loss primarily by reducing total food intake. The increased level of GDF15 is also seen after a cancer therapy that often associates with nausea and emesis. It was only in 2017 when a receptor responsible for mediating the anorectic actions of GDF15 was identified. Hence, the hormone and its receptor are promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of disorders such as obesity, anorexia and nausea associated with chemotherapy. Long-term weight management is a huge current problem. Nausea from chemotherapy and morning sickness is difficult to manage and can be extremely debilitating and compromise individual quality of life.




The inventors created non-naturally occurring peptides that can enhance or suppress the effects of the hormone GDF15. By targeting the hormone receptor, these compounds can be useful to treat obesity by enhancing the action of the hormone and cachexia as well as nausea associated with chemotherapy or morning sickness by suppressing its expression.




•       Use as drug to treat obesity or cachexia

•       Use as drugs to overcome nausea associated with chemotherapy and morning sickness




•       New targets that will help the discovery of drug for treating obesity, cachexia or nausea

•       Can be designed to target the specific site only avoiding brain penetration

•       Potential to increase quality of life for people suffering from obesity, cachexia and nausea


Stage of Development


Preclinical Discovery


Intellectual Property


In preparation


Desired Partnerships


1.       License

2.       Co-development


Docket #: 19-8758 

Download pdf

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Neal Lemon
Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
Ian Tinsley
Tito Borner
Robert Doyle
Bart De Jonghe
Matthew Hayes