Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) stock jumped around 5% on Monday after research revealed that its oral type II diabetes contender, danuglipron, helped patients lose weight faster than Novo Nordisk’s (NYSE:NVO) popular diabetes weekly injectable, Ozempic.
A phase II trial including 411 people was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network. Danuglipron was found to lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) at all dose levels investigated, as well as body weight at doses of 80 mg or more twice a day as compared to placebo. Danuglipron-treated patients dropped roughly 10 pounds over the course of 16 weeks, according to the study. In a similar research, Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic, a once-daily pre-filled insulin pen, showed a similar weight loss of roughly 9.9 pounds over 30 weeks.
Ozempic by Novo Nordisk is now licensed in the United States in doses of 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg, and 2.0 mg for the treatment of type II diabetes in adults. Wegovy, Novo Nordisk’s weight reduction injection that was approved by the FDA in June 2021, is an injectable formulation of semaglutide, the same substance that is approved for treating type II diabetes as Ozempic.
Danuglipron is a small molecule glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist that is taken orally. GLP-1R agonists that are now available require subcutaneous injection or rigorous fasting restrictions. Danuglipron’s efficacy and safety profile in the research were comparable to other GLP-1R agonists presently on the market. However, no subcutaneous administration was required, and no fasting limitations were imposed, according to the news statement.
Pfizer stock has fallen 24.4% this year, while the industry has increased 2.6%.
Ozempic is experiencing strong demand trends and has seen a decent adoption thus far. In the first quarter of 2023, sales of the medicine increased by 59% at a constant currency rate (CER). CER’s Wegovy revenues increased 211% in the first quarter. Novo Nordisk anticipates an increase in Ozempic and Wegovy sales in 2023.
On Monday, Novo Nordisk also presented data from OASIS 1, a phase III research that tested a once-daily oral formulation of semaglutide in obese patients. In the trial, oral semaglutide 50 mg resulted in a 17.4% weight loss at week 68, compared to a 1.8% reduction with a placebo. The weight loss is comparable to that obtained with Wegovy, a weekly injectable used to treat obesity. Novo Nordisk plans to submit an application for regulatory approval of oral semaglutide for obesity in the United States and the European Union in 2023.
Danuglipron may have significant demand trends if it is successful in additional research and subsequently licensed, as the demand for weight reduction medications is enormous and expanding. Furthermore, danuglipron is an oral pill as opposed to weekly injections with Ozempic/Wegovy, which is a simpler formulation.
In this regard, it is crucial to note Eli Lilly’s (NYSE:LLY) Mounjaro/tirzepatide, a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist (GIP/GLP-1 RA) for type II diabetes that was launched last year. Mounjaro has also received approval in Europe and Japan. In clinical investigations for the obesity indication, Mounjaro also showed an improved weight-loss decrease. Lilly has begun a rolling submission for tirzepatide in obesity in the United States, which is likely to be finished soon, while a regulatory application has already been filed in the EU.
The product is selling well and is already benefiting from strong type II diabetes demand trends. Because it has the potential to be authorized for obesity and other diabetes-related disorders, it is likely to be a crucial long-term top-line driver for Lilly.
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