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Merck & Co Inc, in partnership with Nastech Pharmaceutical Co Inc, began small-scale testing of a nasal spray drug that would make people feel full. Nastech's president and chief executive officer, Steven C. Quay, MD, PhD, said that, if further testing of the drug goes well, then patients' daily caloric intake could be reduced by 30%, which could mean a weight loss of ~50 lb over the course of 1 year on a 2800-calorie/day diet. The active compound Peptide YY (PYY) 3-36 Nasal Spray is based on a hormone made by the intestines that tells the brain that the body is full ~30 to 45 minutes after a person eats. The spray would be used before eating and, depending on the results of testing, would be taken either once daily or before each meal. Preliminary testing on 60 people yielded favorable results. Both companies hope that PYY 3-36 will help control the obesity epidemic as well as its related health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.