Recent Publications and Press Coverage

 The brain sensor discovery behind humans getting taller : BBC News (November 2021)

 MC3R links nutritional state to childhood growth and the timing of puberty : Nature (November 2021)

Podcast interview of Dr. Roger Cone: The Naked Scientist - Biological Target for Future Anorexia Drugs (April 2021)

Podcast interview: Stigma Podcast - Eating Disorders Prevalence, and Lack of Solutions with Courage Founder Dan Housman (April 2021)

The melanocortin-3 receptor is a pharmacological target for the regulation of anorexia : Science Translational Medicine (April 2021)

Network dynamics of hypothalamic feeding neurons : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (April 2021)

Receptor protein in the brain controls the body's fat Rheostat : U. Michigan (August 2018)

Regulation of energy rheostasis by the melanocortin-3 receptor : Science Advances (August 2018)

Courage Therapeutics awarded STTR grant to design novel anorexia drugs


NEWTON, MA April 22, 2021 – Courage Therapeutics has been awarded a grant to design novel drug compounds to treat anorexia nervosa from the National Institute of Mental Health. 


With the Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) from the National Institute of Mental Health, Courage will begin developing peptides that promote the activity of a protein called the melanocortin 3 receptor (MC3R), which is known to play a role in regulating food intake. The research will focus on optimizing compounds and testing their efficacy to improve proprietary drug candidates that Courage and researchers at the University of Michigan have collaboratively designed to date.

Anorexia Nervosa is the deadliest psychiatric disorder, with a 5% mortality rate—and 15% of mortality is attributed to suicide. Patients and families working towards recovery often struggle through years of intensive therapy, relapses, and hospitalizations. Unlike existing treatments such as SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics, which attempt to treat anorexia comorbidities such as depression, the Courage therapeutic approach is focused on directly stimulating the brain circuitry in the hypothalamus that controls energy balance, food intake, and anxiety.

The STTR grant award expands on experiments conducted in Dr. Roger Cone’s lab at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute to investigate the biological effects of the MC3R receptor as a regulator of feeding behavior and anxiety. The Cone lab, in conjunction with a team at Vanderbilt University,  recently published an article in Science Translational Medicine on April 21, 2021 that outlined the scientific basis for MC3R drug development titled: The melanocortin-3 receptor is a pharmacological target for the regulation of anorexia

“Our company mission is to make new medicines to treat and cure eating disorders.” said Courage CEO Dan Housman. “We can use this grant to translate Dr. Cone’s breakthrough research as expeditiously as possible into clinical tools to help patients. We were encouraged by the positive reviews regarding the strength of our team, impact of our work, and potential for success. The funding confirms that peers in the psychiatric research community have been convinced of the strong data supporting our vision for the new class of drugs we intend to create.”

Contact Dan Housman

This award was granted by the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R41MH124449.. The content of this press release is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. 


Courage Therapeutics

Courage Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treating eating disorders. The company is led by an experienced team of scientists and pharmaceutical industry experts focusing on developing scientific discoveries regarding the brain’s response to energy signals from the body. The company has a licensing agreement with the University of Michigan to build real treatments based on the University’s MC3R intellectual property portfolio. Led by Dr. Tomi Sawyer the Courage medicinal chemistry team is patenting multiple compounds with highly selective and potent MC3R activity.


“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." 

- James Bryant Conant