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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Boehringer Ingelheim teams up with GoodRx on cost-savings initiative  

Boehringer Ingelheim (Ingelheim, Germany) has teamed up with the prescription drug pricing tracker GoodRx (NSDQ:GDRX) to facilitate patients’ access to cost savings. For instance, people with type 2 diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can use GoodRx to enroll in copay programs for relevant Boehringer Ingelheim drugs.

The two companies estimate that the alliance will provide patients access to roughly $15 million in annual savings.

Diabetes and COPD are among the most common chronic diseases in the U.S. The former affects approximately one in 10 Americans while more than 16 million people in the U.S. have COPD, according to the CDC.

Drugs covered in the program include the following:

Jardiance (empagliflozin). Synjardy (empagliflozin/metformin HCI). Synjardy XR (empagliflozin/metformin HCI extended-release). Spiriva Respimat (tiotropium bromide). Stiolto Respimat (tiotropium bromide and olodaterol). Combivent Respimat (ipratropiu…
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Why Lilly’s tirzepatide has blockbuster potential 

Tirzepatide from Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) continues to show promise for diabetes, outperforming popular diabetes drugs in head-to-head clinical trials, according to GlobalData. 

In the recent SURPASS-4 study, tirzepatide supported the reduction of hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) in people with type 2 diabetes while also supporting weight loss. The study pitted tirzepatide against insulin glargine. 

Tirzepatide is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist (RA). 

The experimental drug also bested the injectable anti-diabetes drug semaglutide in the SURPASS-2 trial. Semaglutide from Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) is currently FDA indicated as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide also supported substantial weight loss in a recent clinical trial, potentially supporting its use as an obesity treatment. Semaglutide is also a GLP-1 receptor agonist.  

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