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Image: Matthias Tunger | Helmholtz Munich
Research Priorities: Metabolic disease, prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes, gut-brain communication, insulin resistance, drug research
Matthias Tschöp is a German physician-scientist and is considered one of the leading international scientists for diabetes and obesity. He unraveled fundamental gut-brain signals to discover medicines capable of normalizing body weight, the dual and triple gut hormone multi-agonists. A first representative is FDA-approved, others are successfully progressing through clinical trials. Offering more than 20 ercent body weight loss and unprecedented blood sugar control, these new medicines enable the reversal of the obesity and diabetes pandemic, a scientific achievement previously believed to be impossible.
As a physician-scientist, Matthias Tschöp embarked on a mission to discover effective therapeutics for obesity and identified the hunger hormone: Ghrelin. This breakthrough revealed a fundamental metabolic control signal. Recognizing that one signal would not be sufficient to effectively reverse obesity, Matthias Tschöp then started to combine several hormone action profiles into single hybrid molecules. Together with the chemist Richard DiMarchi, he created dual and triple hormone-like peptides by strategically choosing specific amino acids from a pool of metabolically active gut hormones (e.g. GIP, GLP-1, Glucagon) as well as adding modifications to increase half-life, stability and solubility. The result was a new class of therapeutics, offering unprecedented levels of metabolic benefits and weight loss in obesity. Tschöp and DiMarchi then validated the first types of these poly-agonists in rodent and primate models and led the very first clinical tests.
Today, numerous pharmaceutical companies are advancing versions of these co-agonists through clinical trials. The FDA-approved first representative of this drug class, Tirzepatide (“Mounjaro”, Eli Lilly & Co), already achieves an average weight loss of 22.5% in human obesity and delivers unprecedented benefits in diabetes. In aggregate Matthias Tschöp pioneered a new era of metabolic medicine: For the first time, human obesity can be effectively treated, significantly reducing the risk for diabetes and enabling the reversal of a global pandemic.