Pfizer picks GLP-1 candidate in race for Ozempic-like weight-loss pill

Pfizer picks GLP-1 candidate in race for Ozempic-like weight-loss pill

Pfizer stated it might transfer ahead with an oral model of an Ozempic-like drug candidate and abandon one other, because the competitors heats up for a capsule model of wildly standard weight-loss medication.

The large drugmaker jettisoned one experimental capsule after sufferers in research skilled elevated enzymes that might point out liver injury, Pfizer stated Tuesday. The corporate will proceed medical trials for its different weight-loss capsule candidate, danuglipron, which it stated has proven promising outcomes with no proof of unintended effects on the liver.

That call, nonetheless, has buyers fretting over whether or not danuglipron, which is taken twice a day, will probably be aggressive with different drugs that solely have to be taken as soon as each day. The corporate’s inventory value fell by 5 p.c in early buying and selling Monday earlier than rebounding barely.

Medication like Ozempic are inflicting a frenzy amongst individuals determined to shed weight — and amongst buyers eyeing the potential earnings of a drugs that might deal with an enormous swath of the American inhabitants that’s overweight. Ozempic and rival medication are accepted by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration solely to deal with diabetes, however they owe their viral fame to their effectiveness in serving to individuals drop some pounds.

The recognition of this new class of weight-loss medicines is already fueling a conflict with insurers over prescriptions for sufferers who don’t have diabetes, foreshadowing extra consequential debates over insurance coverage for dear medication that have an effect on hundreds of thousands of Individuals.

Insurers clamping down on medical doctors who prescribe Ozempic for weight reduction

The medication mimic a hormone naturally produced by the physique, glucagon-like peptide 1. GLP-1 medication, as they’re typically referred to as, gradual the emptying of the abdomen and suppress urge for food. The preferred ones available on the market, together with Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy — which is FDA-approved for weight problems — are all injectable medication, and producers are betting there will probably be much more demand for a capsule model.

“It is a large setback” for Pfizer, Umer Raffat, an analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a analysis word. Observing that the now-abandoned candidate was a once-a-day capsule, he wrote of danuglipron, “it’s not one of the best shot that they had.” Analysts at Cowen acknowledged the troubles about competitors however wrote, “we expect it’s too early to name a winner but.”

A Pfizer spokesperson stated the corporate is creating a “modified once-daily model” of danuglipron and nonetheless believes it has the potential to usher in $10 billion a yr in gross sales for each weight problems and Sort 2 diabetes.

Eli Lilly, the maker of Mounjaro, launched outcomes Friday from a research on an oral GLP-1 drug candidate that confirmed individuals misplaced 8.6 to 12.6 p.c of their physique weight after 26 weeks. It stated unintended effects ranged from delicate to reasonable.

Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, might have the pole place on creating a weight-loss capsule. The corporate is conducting late-stage trials on a capsule candidate utilizing the identical lively ingredient as its hit injectable medication, and it reported in Could that sufferers misplaced 17.4 p.c of their weight over 68 weeks on a once-daily dose.


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