Lilly publishes promising phase 2 trial data for retatrutide, a potential obesity therapy

Lilly has announced promising data from its NCT 04881760 phase 2 study of retatrutide, a potential obesity drug. The drug candidate, a single peptide with agonist activity at the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), GLP-1 and glucagon receptors, was associated with significant weight loss, improved glycemic control and cardiovascular health.

At 24 weeks, retatrutide (1 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg or 12 mg) met the primary endpoint for efficacy in participants with obesity or overweight without diabetes. Participants had a mean weight reduction of up to 17.5% (41.2 lb) at 24 weeks. That figure increased to 24.2% at 48 weeks.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study enrolled 338 adults with obesity or overweight and related health conditions to assess the drug’s efficacy, side effects, and safety. Data from that study were published in NEJM.

Lancet recently published data from the separate phase 2 NCT04867785 study on  retatrutide, in…

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Tirzepatide versus semaglutide: Which contender will prevail in the battle against obesity and type 2 diabetes?

Eli Lilly‘s (NYSE:LLY) tirzepatide achieved up to 15.7% weight loss in the SURMOUNT-2 study, sparking a potential tirzepatide vs semaglutide competition in the obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment markets. The phase 3 study enrolled 938 participants with diverse backgrounds.

Tirzepatide promises to be a megablockbuster with a number of analysts pegging peak annual sales hitting $25 billion. Few drugs have surpassed the $20 billion threshold. One notable example is AbbVie’s monoclonal antibody Humira (adalimumab), which hit $21.2 billion in sales in 2022 and $20.7 billion a year earlier. The drug was the world’s bestseller until the COVID-19 pandemic stoked demand for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, whose cumulative annual sales hit $59.1 billion in 2021.

Lilly has signaled its plans to submit tirzepatide to the FDA, potentially leading to competition between tirzepatide and semaglutide in the obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment markets.

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Semaglutide shows promise for weight loss maintenance 

Signs are growing that the diabetes drug Ozempic (semaglutide) from Novo Nordisk can support weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.

A recent JAMA study involving overweight and obese individuals gave recipients a 2.4-mg subcutaneous dose of semaglutide once weekly for 20 weeks. After that period, investigators continued administering the drug to half of the participants while giving the placebo to the remainder for an additional 48 weeks.

The group that continued to receive semaglutide lost an average of 7.9% of their body weight from week 20 to week 68. By contrast, placebo recipients gained 6.9% of their body weight in the same time frame.

Complicating matters were gastrointestinal side effects, reported in 49.1% of participants who continued to receive subcutaneous semaglutide. A total of 26.1% of placebo recipients also reported gastrointestinal side effects.

The study authors conclude that semaglutide supports weight loss by improvi…

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