By Adria Calatayud

Roche Holding shares rose after the Swiss pharmaceutical giant said a drug candidate achieved positive results for weight loss in an early-stage clinical trial in adults with obesity.

The company joined the race for drugs to treat obesity and diabetes through its purchase of Carmot Therapeutics, seeking a slice of the market that has lifted the fortunes of pharma groups such as Wegovy and Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk and Mounjaro and Zepbound maker Eli Lilly.

The obesity drug candidate Roche bought as part of its Carmot deal--known as CT-388--showed positive results in a phase 1 study, by leading to significant weight loss in healthy adults with obesity compared to placebo, the company said Thursday.

At 0743 GMT, Roche shares traded 3.8% higher at CHF236.10, but remained down 3.4% since the start of the year.

The drug, a once weekly subcutaneous injectable under development for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes, was well tolerated and no new or unexpected safety signals were detected, Roche said.

The results of the trial underscore the drug's potential to become a therapy with durable weight loss and glucose control, said Levi Garraway, Roche's chief medical officer and head of global product development.

While the phase 1 data looks encouraging, Roche has still a long way to go and more details are likely needed to assess the drug's position and commercial potential in a highly competitive market, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note to clients.

Write to Adria Calatayud at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-16-24 0407ET