Boehringer Ingelheim is expanding its efforts in cardiometabolic research through a deal with US biotech Circuit Therapeutics that aims to discover potential new treatments for obesity.

The companies are planning to using Circuit’s proprietary optogenetics technology platform to explore the role central nervous circuits play in obesity, and the central and peripheral circuits relevant for coordinating food intake. 

The idea is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in obesity, as well as prioritisation of novel targets for therapies that could prove superior to the current standard of care, the German drugmaker said.

Circuit’s technology gives researchers and clinicians the ability to control neural activity with light, and “may enable us to unravel the neurological circuits responsible for metabolic disorders down to individual neurons which could lead to the identification of new targets and subsequently new treatments,” noted Michel Pairet, who heads up Research and Non-clinical Development at Boehringer.

Further details on the deal were not revealed at this time. The firms are already partnering on the development of new treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders using Circuit’s optogenetics platform.