Aug 8 (Reuters) -
The race to grab a slice of the lucrative market for obesity treatments is heating up among drugmakers, with Swiss company Roche becoming one of the latest entrants following its
deal to buy Carmot Therapeutics.
The market for obesity treatments is estimated to be worth $100 billion by the end of the decade and already has Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly making a big splash with their highly sought-after treatments.
The following is a list of companies targeting the next big blockbuster opportunity:
Novo Nordisk said a large study had shown its highly effective obesity drug, Wegovy, also had a clear cardiovascular benefit.
The drugmaker in June reported late-stage trial data from a high-dose oral version of its drug, semaglutide, helping overweight or obese adults lose 15% of their body weight in a, which was in line with recent results for other experimental obesity pills.
Novo Nordisk's weekly injection Wegovy, known as Ozempic when used for diabetes, was approved in 2021.
The company also has an older product Saxenda, approved in 2014, but Wegovy is considered safer and more effective.
Eli Lilly's weight-loss therapy, Zepbound, got the green light from U.S. and UK regulators recently, paving the way for a powerful new rival to Novo's Wegovy.
Lilly's drug, chemically known as tirzepatide, has been available as Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes since 2022 and was used "off-label" for weight loss while its approval was pending.
Lilly said a mid-stage trial of its next-generation obesity drug candidate, a once-weekly injection of retatrutide, showed it led to a weight loss of up to 24.2% after 48 weeks.
Pfizer said on Friday it was stopping further trials of a twice-daily version of its oral weight-loss drug, danuglipron.
The decision comes after most patients in a mid-stage trial dropped out with high rates of side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
The company said it will instead focus on a once-daily, modified release version of danuglipron. Data on how this version interacts with the human body is expected next year.
Pfizer had earlier scrapped the development of its once-a-day pill in June due to concerns over liver safety.
ROCHE AND CARMOT THERAPEUTICS
The company acquired CT-388 as part of its $2.7 billion buyout of Carmot Therapeutics. Carmot's once-a-week injection belongs to the same class as Eli Lilly's Mounjaro, or Zepbound.
The newly acquired drug candidate has completed early-stage trials and is ready to be tested on humans in the second of three trial stages, Roche said.
Amgen's experimental obesity drug, AMG133, showed a mean weight loss of 14.5% after 12 weeks of treatment at the highest monthly dose.
Altimmune said its drug candidate, pemvidutide, helped reduce weight by 15.6% on average and showed continued weight loss at the end of treatment in a mid-stage trial.
However, patients also experienced nausea and vomiting of mild and moderate severity.
Viking Therapeutics Inc's drug, VK2735, showed up to 6% reduction in mean weight in an early-stage study.
The company plans to test higher doses of the drug over a longer treatment window in a mid-stage trial.
Denmark's Zealand Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim's experimental obesity treatment achieved up to 14.9% weight loss in a mid-stage trial on Wednesday.
Opko Health has completed a mid-stage trial of its obesity drug, pegapamodutide, which it expects will have fewer side effects. (Reporting by Mariam Sunny, Pratik Jain and Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D'Silva)