A Weight Loss Pill More Powerful than Ozempic in Development at Novo Nordisk

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.12 - 2024 10:54 AM CET

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Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical titan, recently made headlines with its promising early-stage trial results for amycretin, an experimental weight loss pill.

On March 7, the company announced that amycretin could potentially double the effectiveness of its already popular weight loss drug, Wegovy, setting the stage for a new era in obesity treatment. This news resulted in the company’s stock surging.

Novo Nordisk's CEO, Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, said that amycretin “could develop into a best-in-class medicine.” The firm is renowned for revolutionizing the weight loss medication market with the FDA-approved Wegovy in 2021, building on the unexpected weight reduction benefits of its diabetes drug, Ozempic.

The success of Wegovy and Ozempic has not only catapulted Novo Nordisk into Europe's top-valued company status, surpassing luxury conglomerate LVMH last year, but also significantly contributed to Denmark's economic growth.

The introduction of amycretin propelled Novo Nordisk's market valuation above that of Tesla, ranking it as the 12th most valuable company globally. Here's a deeper look into what makes amycretin a potential game-changer in weight loss medication.

Amycretin vs. Wegovy: What's the Difference?

Where amycretin stands out from Wegovy is in its stimulation of two different gut hormones — GLP-1 and amylin — compared to Wegovy, which only stimulates GLP-1. Both GLP-1 and amylin play crucial roles in regulating blood sugar levels and appetite. Moreover, amycretin offers the convenience of a daily pill, whereas Wegovy requires weekly injections.

How Effective is Amycretin?

A small ongoing trial of the drug involving obese Japanese men, amycretin led to an average weight loss of 13% over 12 weeks. This result is notable compared to Wegovy's 15% weight reduction observed over 68 weeks in a larger trial.

However, upcoming phase II, III, and IV trials with more participants are necessary to validate these findings further.

Will Amycretin Replace Wegovy?

Jørgensen shared with CNBC, “We believe in the future, there will be different segments of anti-obesity treatments, different patients having different preferences.”

He doesn’t expect amycretin to completely replace Wegovy in the market.

“Some will prefer an injectable. And we really believe that a once-weekly injectable is a very convenient offering,” Jørgensen stated.

When Will Amycretin Hit the Market?

The timeline for amycretin's market debut remains tentative, with a phase II trial set for the latter half of this year and results expected by early 2026.

Martin Holst Lange, Novo Nordisk's head of development, told Reuters, “I never commit to timelines but I would be very comfortable to say at the very least within this decade.”

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