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Roche’s weight loss drug shows promising results in first trial

A logo at the headquarters of Roche Holding AG in Basel, Switzerland, Thursday, February 1, 2024.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

rock said Thursday that its experimental weight-loss drug showed promising results in a preliminary trial, strengthening the company’s ability to compete in the booming market for such treatments.

The Swiss company joined a list of drugmakers rushing to develop their own obesity drugs with the nearly $3 billion acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics in December. But its weekly weight loss injection, called CT-388, is still far from entering the market.

The weight loss drug sector is dominated by weight loss treatments. Novo Nordisk And Elie Lillyand some analysts estimate the market will be worth $100 billion by the end of the decade.

Roche’s CT-388 helped obese patients lose 18.8% of their weight compared to those given a placebo, after 24 weeks of the phase one trial.

Roche added that all patients who received the drug achieved weight loss of more than 5%. During this time, 70% of these people lost more than 15% of their weight and 45% gained more than 20%.

The treatment works by mimicking the effect of two gut hormones – GLP-1 and GIP – to suppress a person’s appetite, much like Eli Lilly’s popular weight loss drug, Zepbound, and the injection of diabetes Mounjaro.

Scientists hypothesize that targeting these two hormones could have a significant effect on weight loss and blood sugar levels with fewer side effects than drugs targeting GLP-1 alone, such as weight loss treatment Wegovy from Novo Nordisk.

Roche’s CT-388 is being developed to treat both obesity and diabetes.

Roche said it observed no new or unexpected side effects in patients taking CT-388. The company noted that mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects were the most common side effects, consistent with other weight loss and diabetes medications that work similarly.

CT-388 also normalized blood sugar levels in a subgroup of patients with prediabetes.

Roche said it is testing CT-388 in an additional group of patients with obesity and diabetes for 12 weeks. The company expects data on these patients in the second half of the year.

Eli Lilly’s Zepbound resulted in up to 22% weight loss after 72 weeks, while Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy resulted in 15% weight loss after 68 weeks.

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