Pfizer's diabetes drug results in similar weight loss levels as Novo's Ozempic

The Pfizer logo is pictured on their headquarters building
The Pfizer logo is pictured on their headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

May 22 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) diabetes drug resulted in weight loss similar to that of Novo Nordisk's Ozempic in a mid-stage study testing it in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to data published in a medical journal.

Shares of Pfizer rose about 4.5% following the news, which comes at a time of increased investor interest in the weight-loss treatment market, which is estimated to reach $100 billion by the end of the decade.

Pfizer's danuglipron, when given twice a day, lowered blood sugar in patients at all doses and reduced body weight at the highest dose after 16 weeks compared to placebo, according to mid-stage data published last year by the U.S. drugmaker.

Peer reviewed data from the mid-stage study, which evaluated 411 adults with type 2 diabetes, who received either the drug or a placebo, was published in JAMA network on Monday.

Treatment with a 120-milligram dose of danuglipron resulted in average weight loss of about 4.6 kilograms, or about 10 pounds, after 16 weeks, according to the study.

The weight loss with danuglipron is of a similar magnitude to that observed in the mid-stage data for Novo Nordisk's semaglutide, known as Ozempic when used for diabetes and Wegovy for obesity.

Ozempic was first approved in 2017 for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss in the U.S. in 2021.

The treatments, including Pfizer's danuglipron, belong to a class of drugs that mimic the gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which works by suppressing appetite and were initially developed to treat type 2 diabetes.

Pfizer is also testing another oral diabetes drug, lotiglipron, which is given once daily and has said it plans to initiate late-stage development of only one of the two candidates.

The company believes an oral therapy could appeal to patients who want to avoid injections.

Reporting by Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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