New Danish weight loss pill 'could be twice as effective as Ozempic'

AFP - [email protected]
New Danish weight loss pill 'could be twice as effective as Ozempic'
Johan F Paulsson works on Obesity R&D at Novo Nordisk A/S, Måløv, Denmark, 2015. Photo: Novo Nordisk

An experimental new weight loss pill from Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk could be twice as effective as its blockbuster Ozempic and Wegovy jabs, early results from a small trial have suggested, sending the firm's shares soaring.


The drug amycretin caused people to lose 13 percent of their body weight over three months, according to the results of a phase one trial announced by
the company.

Previous trials have found that Novo Nordisk's Ozempic and Wegovy drugs lead to around six percent body weight loss over the same period. However experts emphasised that significantly more research was needed to establish the long-term effectiveness and safety of amycretin.

Nonetheless, the announcement at an investor event on Thursday sent Novo Nordisk's shares shooting up more than eight percent.

The immense popularity of this new generation of drugs called GLP-1 agonists have already made Novo Nordisk Europe's most valuable company, even as overwhelming demand has sparked major stock shortages.

Unlike other semaglutide drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy and US firm's Mounjaro, amycretin was taken as a pill, rather than a once-weekly injection. Similar to those drugs, amycretin mimics the appetite-reducing gut hormone GLP-1. But it also mimics another hormone called amylin.

"This approach seems to be a little bit more exciting, from the limited data that we have," Daniel Drucker, a researcher at the Canada's University of
Toronto, told New Scientist. But far more data was needed, he said, adding that amycretin has not been directly compared to other drugs in a head-to-head trial.

Novo Nordisk's executive vice president for development Martin Holst Lange told the investor event that amycretin has the "potential of showing the same
efficacy and safety as CagriSema," another of the firm's GLP-1 agonist drugs which targets amylin.


The results from a trial of an injectable form of amycretin are expected at some point next year, he said. The firm would then look into an "ambitious
further development programme," he added.

For the amycretin trial, which involved 16 people with an average weight of 89 kilograms, those given a placebo lost one percent of their body weight over
12 weeks.

GLP-1 agonists have been found to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with obesity -- but they also heighten the risk of gastrointestinal problems, studies show.

Research has also demonstrated that once people stop taking the drugs, they largely regain the weight they had lost.


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