April 15, 2024

Could Ozempic-maker Novo Nordisk help you lose weight even faster? It seems to think so with a new drug, amycretin.

The Danish pharma giant released promising early-stage trial results of its experimental weight loss pill amycretin last week.

The company told investors March 7 that a small trial of the pill found it could be twice as effective as the company’s current blockbuster weight loss drug, Wegovy, and could develop into a “best-in-class medicine.”

Novo Nordisk is credited with ushering in the weight loss drug revolution. Skyrocketing demand for Ozempic and Wegovy has turned Novo Nordisk into the most valuable company in Europe. Sales of the drugs even helped boost Denmark’s GDP by 1.8% in 2023.

Now, news of this next-gen weight loss drug has lifted the company’s market cap above Tesla’s and made it the12th-most valuable company in the world.

A small ongoing trial of the drug found that the pill helped users lose an average of 13% of their body weight after 12 weeks. By comparison, a larger clinical trial of Wegovy found that it helped users lose about 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks.

The main difference between amycretin and Wegovy is that the former is taken once daily as a pill, while Wegovy is taken as a weekly injection.

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen told CNBC last week that he doesn’t expect amycretin to completely replace Wegovy in the market, as some users might find a weekly injection more convenient.

Novo Nordisk said it will begin a phase II trial of the drug in the second half of the year, but results of that trial won’t be available until early 2026.

Still, the company’s head of development Martin Holst Lange told Reuters the drug could launch this decade. The news comes as several drug makers are racing to disrupt Novo Nordisk’s dominance in the weight loss market and develop their own competing drugs.

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