Meng Deng and Karen Wurster, “Convert Fat to Cure Diabetes”

What if an injection could cure your diabetes? Meng Deng, PhD and Karen Wurster were on the podcast to talk about Adipo Therapeutics’ ambitious plan to remake the metabolism of diabetic people. Informative and accessible.


  • Sal Daher Introduces the Founder and the CEO of Adipo Therapeutics
  • “…we’re talking about having too much white fat and not enough brown fat.”
  • “…transform that energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.”
  • “…a nanoparticle that you inject into the white fat and it converts the white fat into brown fat…”
  • “…you can eat the same amount and continue to lose weight.”
  • “…because the sizes are so small that the particles are easily uptaken by the fat cells…”
  • Adipo Will Need Five to Six Million Dollars in Funding to Get to a Deal with a Strategic Player
  • “…it’s a large market that has a proven, well understood regulatory pathway.”
  • Purdue’s Entrepreneurial Infrastructure Was Vital to Getting Adipo Off the Ground, According to Founder Meng Deng, PhD
  • The Podcast Is Sponsored by Pater Fasse of Fish & Richardson
  • Karen Wurster Took Early Retirement at Eli Lilly and Was Looking for an Entrepreneurial Activity

Transcript of “Convert Fat to Cure Diabetes”


Sal Daher Introduces the Founder and the CEO of Adipo Therapeutics

Sal Daher: Welcome to Angel Invest Boston, conversations with Boston’s most interesting founders and angel investors. I am Sal Daher an angel investor who just delights in learning more about how to build stronger, more dynamic startup companies. Today, my guests are the founder and the CEO of a company called Adipo Therapeutics. They were kindly introduced to me by my friend, Çağrı Savran of Savran Technologies, who is a professor at Purdue and who is a founder, and has this company here in Boston and the people at Adipo are also at Purdue. So, we’re continuing here with our little theme of Purdue startups, but anyway, I would like to welcome Meng Deng PhD, the founder, and Karen Wurster, the CEO of Adipo Therapeutics.

“…we’re talking about having too much white fat and not enough brown fat.”

Karen Wurster: Yeah, thanks Sal for having us on today. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about what we’re doing here and the real problem that Meng and I are working on through Adipo Therapeutics is the problem of too much fat. And really when we talk about too much fat, we’re not just talking about the cosmetic piece of that, but we’re talking about having too much white fat and not enough brown fat. And what’s been learned over the last few years is that this idea of having too much white fat and not enough brown, changes your core metabolism. Because white fat is the fat that actually stores your energy, and brown fat is a type of fat that actually burns energy or burns your calories, and that having too much white fat and not enough brown is not just about carrying that excess weight. The brown fat itself plays a metabolic role, and it’s therefore the root cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even fatty liver disease and the root cause of not just the development of those diseases, but the progression as well.

“…transform that energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.”

And so, Meng has been working in his lab and developing a new approach that will actually transform that energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.

Sal Daher: Awesome.

Meng Deng: Yeah, so what we’re trying to do as Karen mentioned is actually to harness the native biology in our body in terms of harness of lots of differences between the energy storing fat versus energy burning fat as a potential new way to treat Type 2 diabetes as well obesity and the other diseases. So, what can actually to develop a platform technology composed of non-inhibiting nanoparticles that can be injected directly into the fat tissues. And when those particles are in contact with fat cells that can be quickly picking up in, and once they’re inside cells to release the small molecule, notch inhibitors, now signaling, thereby inducing the fat cell conversion

Sal Daher: Okay, can you unpack a little bit, what is a notch inhibitor? What that means, a little dollop of the biology.

Meng Deng: Sure. So, the notch signaling is actually, it’s highly conserved a single pathway in the animal kingdom is essentially responsible cell communication.

Sal Daher: Highly preserved means that it’s widespread. It’s a structure that exists across many types of animals and creatures.

Meng Deng: Exactly right. That’s also a small rodents, mice have it, large animals such as pigs have it, humans have it. So that’s essentially one of the reasons why we’re actually targeting notch signaling to convert fat cells.

“…a nanoparticle that you inject into the white fat and it converts the white fat into brown fat…”

Sal Daher: Basically, you have a nanoparticle that you inject into the white fat and it converts the white fat into brown fat, which is energy burning fat. Now I understand that if you convert one third of a pound of white fat into brown fat, it results in weight loss of something like 22 pounds, is that correct?

Meng Deng: That was actually based on the data publishing in New England Journal of Medicine and demonstrating the capacity for brown fat and of the differences of burning excessive energy as compared to the white fat.

Sal Daher: Okay, so this is a very promising thing.

“…you can eat the same amount and continue to lose weight.”

Karen Wurster: And what’s really exciting about this and some insights that most of my career in diabetes, product development and product commercialization in diabetes. And what’s really exciting to me when Meng first started talking about this is, this is such a unique approach to treating diabetes. There’s other treatments out there that cause people to eat less. There’s other treatments out there that cause more insulin to circulate. And those are the two main ways that diabetes has been addressed. And what this treatment would do, is completely complimentary to that. And so rather than causing you to eat less, it causes you to burn more calories. So you can eat the same amount and continue to lose weight. And what this does is instead of providing more insulin, it makes your body more insulin sensitive. And so it reacts more naturally to the insulin that’s already there. And so this really is such a unique way to treat obesity and to treat diabetes versus anything else that’s out there right now.

Sal Daher: Okay. In terms of converting white fat cells into brown fat cells, what is the competitive landscape look like? Are there other attempts being made to go in this direction and how does your approach compare with those approaches?

Meng Deng: Yeah, so I can start with more details on the technology itself. So essentially our particles are composed of two components. One is actually, as I mentioned, that the small molecule notch inhibitors, the second component is actually a biodegradable compatible polymer. It’s actually the same polymer used in the suture and has been used a number of FDA-cleared therapeutic devices. So combining these two really allow us to develop sustained-release formulation. In other words, the polymer formulation we’re developing is actually weekly injection. So the polymer matrix enables gradual release of a small molecule notch inhibitors from the part of a matrix for a week. So that essentially this running a course, in a sustained fashion.

Sal Daher: Okay. So you consider the data as a competitive advantage? These are the other approaches to converting white fat to brown fat?

Meng Deng: Yes, so by actually creating nanoparticles, which size are very small that we actually can harness the cell’s ability to update the sub particles once they’re injected. So in other words, the adipose sites will pick up those particles, only when they’re inside they release the small molecule notch inhibitors without affecting other cells and tissues. The second is actually by design, this sustained release formulation, we can actually significantly reduce the amount used, as compared to the conventional delivery route, for example, epi injection of the drug.

Sal Daher: Okay. I just want to highlight this. So one of the things that sets you apart, it’s very targeted, the nanoparticle. It’s very, very targeted to certain white fat cells. And doesn’t spill over to other areas that you don’t want to activate in the organism.

“…because the sizes are so small that the particles are easily uptaken by the fat cells…”

Meng Deng: So essentially, we’re trying to actually develop this localized nanoparticle delivery approach. So, we inject or leverage these well-established, application we inject the medicine. The particles can be injected directly into subcutaneous white fat. And then once they’re in contact with fat cells they can be quickly pick( them begin) so that the particle is highly localized within the fat tissues. And then, because the sizes are so small that the particles are easily uptaken by the fat cells, in terms of once they’re in, they release the small molecule notch inhibitors.

Sal Daher: So, they don’t go circulating around in the body. Doesn’t get into the blood, let’s say it just is absorbed directly into the fat cells.

Meng Deng: That’s exactly the mechanism. So we’re leveraging in terms of localized at the [inaudible 00:07:56] through the rapid cellular internalization, the guide that was a natural extracellular matrix of adipose tissue, which is very tight.

Karen Wurster: And in fact, when Meng was doing the animal studies, he couldn’t find any circulating active ingredient, because it was all taken up so quickly into the cells.

Sal Daher: Okay, very interesting. What do you expect to be funding? That’s going to be required for you to get to the point where a strategic player might take an interest in Adipo Therapeutics?

Adipo Will Need Five to Six Million Dollars in Funding to Get to a Deal with a Strategic Player

Karen Wurster: So we think the most important point is going to be when we complete our IND-enabling studies. And so, doing that preclinical safety and toxicology, doing the proof of efficacy in large animal models, such as the [inaudible 00:08:42], and to get from this point to that, where we will be ready to go to and IND and these will cost about $6 million. And we expect to be ready to apply for that IND in 2022. So about $5 million from here to that point. And then at that point, we’ll be looking to fund our Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical safety and efficacy trial.

Sal Daher: Okay, so $5 million is a bit of a stretch for angels, but it’s still in the angel ambit, but it’s going to require quite a bit of work for the race.

Karen Wurster: Yes.

Sal Daher: But this is a massive payoff. If it works, this is a huge thing.

Karen Wurster: We’re also looking at non-dilutive funding for this phase. So we’ve applied for an NIH SBIR Phase 2 grant that is currently just in, we’ve applied January 8th, and it will be in discussion on March 18th, and the scientific discussion. So we’re hoping that the largest part of the raise to get us to that IND will be non-dilutive.

Sal Daher: Excellent, excellent, very good. Tell us a little bit about, what indications do you have so far that your approach is effective?

Karen Wurster: Yeah, the possibilities for this are tremendous, given that obesity causes so many different problems, medical problems with people. So cardiovascular, non-steroid or nonalcoholic, the opportunities for this different indications is tremendous. Given the role that obesity plays in a number of different conditions are most notably Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular. We’ve decided for the first indication we are going to pursue type 2 diabetes. And there’s a number of reasons for that. One is the market size for Type 2 diabetes itself is huge, for Type 2 diabetes direct treatment in the USA is about an $88 billion market. And for non-insulin injections alone, that’s about $10 billion and that would be our target market.

“…it’s a large market that has a proven, well understood regulatory pathway.”

So, it’s a large market that has a proven, well understood regulatory pathway. So, the regulatory agency knows what they’re looking for in injectable treatments for Type 2 diabetes, and it’s well reimbursed. This is a market where the insurance companies generally reimburse at a low tier, at least one product in each category. And we will be the first product in our category. So large market, well understood regulatory path, and good reimbursement really lead us to say, this seems to be the key place where we’d want to launch this product, and then looking at other indications down the road.

Sal Daher: Excellent. A lot of these approaches that might address diabetes, it also is likely to cause weight loss, but you don’t go after weight loss, because weight loss is not reimbursed. It’s hard to make money from weight loss. It’s a lot easier to make money from diabetes.

Karen Wurster: Yes, that’s exactly right.

Sal Daher: Yeah, people are seriously sick, so there is reimbursement for it.

Karen Wurster: Yeah, and there’s also, as we look at exit down the road, there’s a number of companies that are very active in the diabetes space that has demonstrated that they really want to continue to grow their diabetes portfolio in new directions, and that they’re willing to partner and licensing products to do that. So, when you look at some of the big players, like an Eli Lilly, like a Novo Nordisk, those are companies that have an existing footprint in this area and has demonstrated over time, and even recently, that they want to continue to grow in this disease space.

Sal Daher: Excellent, excellent. Let’s talk a little bit about the founding story of the company.

Meng Deng: Sure. So Adipo was actually founded while actually I was a faculty member at the Purdue leadership entrepreneurial-

Sal Daher: One second Meng, if I could just mention one thing, Adipo Therapeutics, adipose tissue fat, that’s where the name comes from.

Meng Deng: That’s correct.

Sal Daher: A D I P O Therapeutics, so please continue. So you were a faculty member at Purdue.

Meng Deng: Yeah, I was a faculty member at Purdue and I got the opportunity to participate in the Purdue Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, which is a yearlong, in terms of training for faculty members who are interested in terms of development of technology for a potential commercialization. And during that process, I actually also participated in the introduction to customer discovery, followed with NSF I-Corps. So, I interview together with a team, interview over a hundred customers, including doctors, patients, and different companies, such as pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to gain the market feedback, to validate whether the technology could be a good fit with the market niche. So at the end of that, we decided to found a company. So, I [inaudible] license from Purdue and that’s how Adipo was founded. But the science story actually dates back already when I first started at the Purdue from day one.

Purdue’s Entrepreneurial Infrastructure Was Vital to Getting Adipo Off the Ground, According to Founder Meng Deng, PhD

Sal Daher: So, you were well-supported by the Purdue infrastructure, the ecosystem in Purdue for spinning off technologies from their labs to companies, which is the same thing that Çağrı Savran of Savran Technologies, which is another Purdue company mentioned. You mentioned that Purdue is extremely supportive of its faculty members of Purdue technologies in helping it go from the lab to the clinic, to industry, please continue.

Meng Deng: Yeah, so the support from the Purdue Foundry and then the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s incredible in themselves to get us this far. So the science part is really began when I first started at the Purdue and one day I got the email from a professor in animal science actually, who just saw my profile as part of a new faculty recruited to Purdue. And he contacted me immediately, so our collaboration started from day one themselves. We actually published over a dozen papers together over past two years and which also including the research work that has led to the founding of at Adipo.

Sal Daher: Okay, so that was how long ago?

Meng Deng: So, I started at Purdue in January of 2014.

Sal Daher: Very good. So over seven years, you’ve managed to basically be at the point where you can take this technology from the lab, hopefully to the clinic.

Karen Wurster: Yeah, as long as it’s also successful in securing NIH grant, SBIR Phase 1, to support his work also.

Sal Daher: Excellent, excellent. What are the technologies that your approach draw on? Their bunch of technologies that are maturing right now in the life sciences that are making these miraculous things possible. So you mentioned it’s a nanoparticle. Can you just kind of disentangle a little bit about the technologies that are involved?

Meng Deng: Sure, so from the big picture perspective, if you look at the current available medications for patients actually largely focused on decreasing the energy intake, by either suppressing appetite or reducing the nutrient absorption. So, however, those actually medication produced some modest effects on also often associated with unpleasant side effects. On the other hand, so to bring that the energy balance to normality, we’re actually focused on increasing the energy expenditure, in other words, by harnessing the capacity of brown fat.

Sal Daher: So basically, changing the metabolism of the person, of the animal initially, to burn more fat than it normally would.

Meng Deng: That’s exactly right.

Sal Daher: Okay, but the technologists are using, can you kind of tell me a little bit, you’re relying on nanoparticles and what else?

Meng Deng: So, we really combined two different things together. So number one is actually the molecular mechanism of inhibiting this notch signaling, to induce a fat cell conversion.

Sal Daher: So that’s the small molecule. What does it do? It stops the process, which prevents the conversion to brown cell.

Meng Deng: Yes, essentially the inhibitor than that signaling pathway, so it’s actually the drug active ingredient, that loaded onto the polymer nanoparticles. And then the work that the nanoparticle does is actually, it helps in terms of deliver this drug into the red place. In our case is actually the white adipocyte. And then by combining these two, again, we can tailor the release in terms of how fast this small molecule is actually released from the polymer matrix. And also we can significantly reduce the amount needed in terms of, to be loaded on the nanoparticles as compared to the systemic injection. So, I mean, 50 times less in the amount of required when the drugs loaded onto nanoparticles as compared to the systemic delivery.

Sal Daher: Okay, so Meng you come from a material science background, do you come from a molecular biology background, chemical engineering. These days, people working in life sciences, you have to ask where, what, which tribe they’re from.

Meng Deng: Yeah. So I’m a chemical engineer by training. And I got my bachelor degree in chemical engineer from Tsinghua University in China. Then I came to United States set to pursue my PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Virginia. And so essentially chemical engineering, it’s diverse in the different field that the different disciplines converge different disciplines together in terms of chemistry, biology and engineering principles, in my case, was actually more on the regulation in cell engineering and tissue engineering perspective.

Sal Daher: Okay, very good, very good.

Karen Wurster: And Sal I know your audience is in the Boston area, and Meng has some experience working in the Boston area as well.

Sal Daher: What was your experience here, Meng?

Meng Deng: So actually after, I finished the PhD and I was actually following my PhD advisor, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin at the university connected health center. And at the time there was actually collaboration between my PhD mentor and professor Bob Langer at MIT. So I got the opportunity to visit the Langer lab as a visiting scientist.

Sal Daher: Oh, so you were at the Langer lab as a visiting scientist?

Meng Deng: Yes.

Sal Daher: You got a taste of the approach that they have there. Very good. Very good. So at this point, what I like to do is a very brief promo, and then we’re going to come back and talk more about discovering entrepreneurship and Karen, your background. 

The Podcast Is Sponsored by Pater Fasse of Fish & Richardson

And so, the first thing I want to bring to the attention of listeners is that intellectual property, if you are a life science company, such as Adipo, such as Savran Technologies, or all of these is extremely important, if you’ve heard that Adipo licenses its technology from Purdue. Going forward, that probably will be developing their own intellectual property. There’s nothing more important for a life science company than their intellectual property portfolio. And so I just want to mention that this podcast is sponsored by Peter Fasse of Fish & Richardson here in Boston, who is just the top patent attorney in the life sciences and related areas here in Boston.

Peter also is the patent attorney for Savran Technologies. I’m grateful to Çağrı Savran for connecting me with Meng, who’s a fellow faculty member at Purdue. So I just wanted to mention this connection. You know, if you guys are looking, if you know a startup that’s looking for a patent attorney, get in touch with Peter Fasse at Fish & Richardson, which is like the top patent law firm in the country. So anyway, we talked a little bit about Meng’s background. So Karen, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to this entrepreneurial venture.

Karen Wurster: Sure. I actually began as a biochemist, so I had a biochemistry undergrad degree and worked in protein and peptides development, before I joined the dark side of the business world. So I went back and got an MBA in business from Kelley School. So Meng and I were at competing universities, I was in the State of Indiana. And so got my MBA from there. And since then, worked predominantly in diabetes, drug development and commercialization. So everything from early in the phase, now I’m early in the clinical phase. So what we call new product planning as drugs are moving into Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials, all the way through commercialization, US sales, a bit of everything, but always in diabetes.

Karen Wurster Took Early Retirement at Eli Lilly and Was Looking for an Entrepreneurial Activity

And I took early retirement that Lilly offered, about 2000 of us took that, three years ago, and started looking at other opportunities, which led me to a conversation with Meng and his entrepreneurial advisor up at Purdue, just about a year ago. And as I heard about the work he was doing and having had all my experience in diabetes, I realized just what a breakthrough this was, and how disruptive this would be to the way diabetes is treated, and the way we think about it by getting to that root cause of too much white fat, and not enough brown. And so we started working together about a year ago, and it’s been fun pulling the team together and trying to realize this opportunity.

Sal Daher: Excellent. You’ve come from Eli Lilly, which is a very large pharmaceutical company. And now you’re in a scrappy biotech startup.

Karen Wurster: Yes.

Sal Daher: No, you don’t have the resources you used to have with Lily. You have to create your own resources and so forth. So how is it that you’re dealing with that?

Karen Wurster: Yeah, I think there’s a couple ways. One is having come from diabetes, it’s been a tremendous help to be able to tap into some of the talent and people that I knew in the area. And so using that and putting together, rather than a full-time team, we have a contract team that we’re putting together to work through the problems. The second is really trying to make sure I have the right kind of mentors in place that help me make this change. So both people that I’ve been connected to through the Purdue Research Foundation and the Purdue Foundry, as well as people that I know who have made the same switch that can help coach me through it.

Because in the biggest change, as you said, is around budgets. And so just thinking smaller and tightening the belt a bit more to say, for us, when you’re working in it for a large corporation, you move it over another digit on the numbers that matter. So we’re trying to manage, that this much tighter budget, but it’s still budget management, the same type of, it’s still team leadership. I’m still trying to understand, what is the market need at the end of the day, starting with the end in mind. And so I think there’s some of those core skills that you get working at any size company that apply, and then you just have to learn over time what do you let go? And what do you need to learn new from that large company experience?

Sal Daher: I also think that your large company experience will serve you well when you get to the point of thinking about a collaboration with large corporates, because you will understand the tempo, you’ll understand the dynamics of these large players, how they move, which is really a bit of a mystery to a lot of people.

Karen Wurster: Yeah, I think that’s true. And I think understanding what they expect by the time we get to a time of exit. And so, one of the things we talk about is having a Phase 3-ready product at that point. And so, doing things in a way with, although at a lower budget, but doing things in a way that’s acceptable to the large corporations and will meet their needs when they’re ready to pick this up.

Sal Daher: Excellent, I think that Adipo is a good bet, if you guys continue to work well together, the team has the scientific aspect of it. It has the corporate experience. So many life science startups that I see really, really struggle to have both those elements. There is massive demand for talent in the field, both in the scientific side and on the management side. So you have to have a balance of those two, that will serve you well, I think. And that’s an indication that you guys are heading in a in a good direction.

Karen Wurster: Well great, thank you. Yeah, and I will say it’s been a pleasure working with Meng. He brings, not just the scientific innovation, but I think also some of the training we talked about at Purdue, teaching him, more about the business side makes him a great partner. And then just his natural approach of really respecting the different talent that we bring in, whether that’s our medical advisor, our toxicology person, recognizing that there’s different types of scientific expertise as well.

Sal Daher: Yes, yes. You know, I’m comparing your company to a company I’m invested in, called QSM Diagnostics, quorum sensing molecules. So they’re using that for diagnostics. The founder, Edgar Goluch who was a professor at Northeastern University and very much like Meng. The good thing about academics is they’re very smart and they learn very quickly. I mean, that’s the case… but that’s why they’re academics, is that they’re very good at learning, but then there’s a large number of them that kind of think they know it all. And the very small subset of these is the ones that, don’t think they know it all, and who understand that they need help. And I think certainly Ed Goluch and Çağrı are among those. And I think that probably Meng, from what you’re telling me, is also in that category. Someone who knows a tremendous amount about their field, but then realizes that doesn’t necessarily cross over to other areas, and that they need help.

I have seen founders who kind of say, no, I don’t need any, I’m a, I’m going to be just me, myself and moi, on my own. I’m going to do it all. I don’t want to dilute, I don’t want to spend money. I know one promising startup, a very smart guy who, just is not willing to open up and to reach out for help. So I salute you for doing that. Meng, when is it that occurred to you that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Are there entrepreneurs in your family?

Meng Deng: Yeah, so as I mentioned. So, this is actually really started obviously given the nature of my research is actually on the translational side in terms of developing new materials for cell engineering and the tissue regeneration. And so I’ll also want to actually learn is being a great learning process for me. I was fortunate to have so many great teachers, including Karen as well, and also those wonderful people from the Purdue Foundry and Purdue ecosystem.

But that is really not until actually I finished NSF I-Corps. So one of the lessons I learned in terms of reflecting my own experience is actually the first day when I was at I-Corps side. And we were actually in Detroit and I-Corps mentor would ask, yeah, you have this cool technology, I was actually so excited, dynamism presenting. And then he bluntly responded, so what, so he says, “Get out of your comfort zone, get out of your office and try to talk to the patients and doctors.” And I think that really changed how I actually as think about the research and observe, that really provided the guidance into my future research activity, in terms of the technology market fit, before actually I commited to start this Adipo Therapeutics.

Sal Daher: I understand. So you’re working in a translational field, which means taking technology from the lab and, and taking out to the clinic, but people can do translational work and remain in academic setting and just let other people be the entrepreneur. What is it that motivated you to take that entrepreneurial step?

Meng Deng: As academic researcher I say in terms of the motivations really urgent it’s from the impact that the research innovation can bring to the positive impact to the patients. So in my case, so that really motivates me. And also second is actually the incredible Purdue entrepreneurial ecosystem support, is it’s has enabled me to actually go through that process otherwise. So I cannot imagine in terms of if I can get here today, because I was actually on training staff, I have my own duty in terms of mentoring students. And that was actually a quite a rewarding process. I was teaching courses and other activities in my academic job. So for me to do this is actually that the support from Purdue, it’s actually incredible for them to enable me to be flexible in terms of balancing the time between entrepreneurship and my other duties.

Sal Daher: Excellent, excellent. As we think about wrapping up the interview, I’d like to sort of open up the forum to both Karen and Meng, if there are parting words that you want to leave our audience with.

Meng Deng: Yeah, so it’s the first thing I say in terms of, from the academic side was having the research idea is the first step, the big research idea, but more importantly that I learned from an NSF I-Corps is actually, so get out to talk to the customers already, and I’m so validating the technology market fit. And second is actually, is important in terms of, as a founder of the company in terms of establish a network of people. For me the Purdue Foundry in terms of the entrepreneurial ecosystem was so crucial in terms of to help me get this far and including the introduction to Karen, to bring her on board. Working with Karen and other team members are actually very, very exciting in terms of that actually the exciting factor that can be up in the night in terms of this technology forward towards clinical translation, so…

Sal Daher: The NSF I-Corps that you went through, it drove you to go out there and connect with people. And the Purdue Foundry allowed you to connect with people, made it possible for you to do that connecting.

Meng Deng: That’s right.

Sal Daher: Resulting you, finding Karen to be the CEO of your startup. Excellent, excellent. Karen, any thoughts?

Karen Wurster: Yeah, I think for me, this has been the most exciting opportunity I’ve had in my career, and I’ve had the opportunity to do some exciting stuff. That’d be part of a launch of a blockbuster drugs in diabetes, but to really be at the forefront of this and this brand-new area, it’s been a blast. And working with someone like Meng, who wants to bring this forward in a way that can really make a difference for patients, as well as the strong business going into the future has just been a great opportunity. So look forward to continuing to be a part of this team and seeing it move from the bench all the way through proof in people and then into the market.

Sal Daher: Excellent, excellent. Karen, I think that your experience here could provide a model for other executives at pharma who may be thinking of having a different direction in their career. You could be a very good role model for them in the way that you’re doing this with Adipo Therapeutics.

Karen Wurster: Great yes.

Sal Daher: Excellent. I’m very grateful to Meng Deng PhD, founder of Adipo Therapeutics, and to Karen Wurster, CEO of Adipo Therapeutics for being on the podcast, and making time. I’ve really enjoyed this interview. The problem of solving diabetes is tremendously important. 

Karen Wurster: Thank you sir.

Meng Deng: Thank you so much.

Sal Daher: Excellent. This is Angel Invest, Boston. I’m Sal Daher.

Sal Daher: I’m glad you were able to join us. Our engineer is Raul Rosa. Our theme was composed by John McKusick. Our graphic design is by Katharine Woodman-Maynard. Our host is coached by Grace Daher.