Roche enters red-hot metabolic disease market with Carmot Therapeutics acquisition

Swiss pharma giant Roche had a limited presence in metabolic disease, but the firm has agreed to take over obesity drug developer Carmot Therapeutics for $2.7 billion, rivaling the dominance of next-gen obesity drug developers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly.

Carmot had been a rising star in biotech, attracting significant funding, including a $150 million Series E financing round in May 2023. The startup, having raised almost $385 million in total funding, had even flirted with an initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker CRMO., a rarity in the current climate.

CT-388 a valuable asset

Carmot’s lead asset is CT-388, a once-weekly injectable dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist for obesity, which has shown upbeat weight loss results in a phase 1b study. In the study, participants experienced more than 8% weight loss at 4 weeks. The drug candidate also appeared to be well-tolerated. In the study, The therapy demonstrated substantial weight loss compared to other…

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The weight-loss drug market: overhyped or justified?

Photo by John Guccione

The obesity drug market has seen a surge of interest recently, largely thanks to the popularity of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro. The explosion in interest in the drug class has fueled the stock prices of Novo and Lilly, which both have multiple GLP-1 drugs in their portfolios. 

Novo’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange is up over one-third so far in 2023 — trading near $92 per share after beginning the year at $68.48. Lilly has seen even steeper gains with its stock closing at $538.29 on October 2, up almost 48% so far this year.  

So far this year, the GLP-1 surge has negatively impacted the stocks of some medical device companies focused on diabetes and sleep apnea. Analysts have even speculated that the surge in popularit…

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