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Novo Nordisk confident of amycretin obesity drug launch this decade

Mar 09,2024

Denmark: Novo Nordisk is very comfortable it will be able to launch the pill version of its experimental weight loss drug amycretin this decade, the drugmaker’s head of development told Reuters on Friday, a day after it announced strong early trial data on it.

“I never commit to timelines but I would be very comfortable to say at the very least within this decade,” Martin Holst Lange said in an interview.

Novo shares surged more than 8 per cent to record highs on Thursday when the company told investors a Phase I trial of the pill version of amycretin showed participants lost 13.1 per cent of their weight after 12 weeks, a bigger reduction early on than from Wegovy.

Shares in the drugmaker, which surpassed Tesla Inc in market value on Thursday, were down 0.9 per cent on Friday but were still set for a 7.1 per cent gain this week.

Investors said the news shows the Danish company, originally known as an insulin maker, has more in its pipeline beyond its hugely successful Wegovy. Its shares have risen more than three-fold since June 2021 when it launched Wegovy in the United States.

It hopes both its new experimental obesity drugs cagrisema and amycretin will have higher efficacy in terms of weight-loss than Wegovy.

Cardiac Benefits

After 12 weeks on amycretin in the trial, more than 80 per cent of the participants were still on the drug, Lange said, describing it as an “impressive” retention rate which would suggest that the doses were safe and patients were tolerating it well without major side effects.

Lange added that it also “would be a likely scenario” that the new drugs would have similar cardiac benefits as Wegovy.

Wegovy belongs to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists, originally designed to treat Type 2 diabetes, that have been shown to regulate blood glucose levels and suppress appetite.

Following the success of Wegovy, companies are working on other promising weight-loss therapies such as amycretin, which in addition to binding to the same gut hormone as Wegovy — GLP-1 — also targets a hormone called amylin in the pancreas that affects hunger.

Novo in August said a large study had shown Wegovy also had a clear cardiovascular benefit, boosting the company’s hopes of moving beyond its image as a lifestyle drug.

Those results have led to a debate over whether the long-term medical benefits of weight-loss drugs are enough to reduce the overall burden on healthcare systems and the cost of treating heart disease in overweight and obese people.

Novo’s current plan is to advance the development of amycretin in its oral and injectable form simultaneously, and it gives a regulatory advantage to deliver safety data on both versions at the same time, Lange said.

Source: Pharma

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