Ozempic maker 'very optimistic' after revealing new weight loss pill twice as effective as existing jabs

7 March 2024, 19:48

The maker of Ozempic and Wegovy has introduced a new weight-loss pill twice as effective as its existing jabs.
The maker of Ozempic and Wegovy has introduced a new weight-loss pill twice as effective as its existing jabs. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The maker of the weight loss drugs Ozepmic and WeGovy has revealed a new pill for weight loss that’s twice as effective as its existing jabs.

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The Danish drugmaker said early trials for an experimental obesity drug called amycretin have shown that patients were able to lose more than 13% of their body weight after 12 weeks.

This is more than twice as effective as its comparable Wegovy treatment, which helped patients lose around 6% in the same period.

The groundbreaking results have pushed the drugmaker into the spot of 12th most valuable company in global rankings with a valuation of $566 billion - overtaking the likes of Tesla and Visa.

It also saw Novo Nordisk’s shares rise by 5% making it Europe’s most valuable listed company and more valuable than the annual output of the entire Danish economy.

Demand for the drugs has rocketed in the last few months, with sales increasing by 38% for weight-loss and obesity jabs in 2023.

Danish economists said the popularity of the treatments helped save the country from a recession last year.

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While further studies are needed into the new drug and trials remain ongoing, the results so far have been welcomed by investors who are keen to roll out a new medicine in a format that will hopefully be more appealing to patients.

Amycretin works in a similar way to the company’s previous two drugs, which were originally approved to treat diabetes but are now used off-label for obesity.

The drug was seemingly well-tolerated and safe among 16 people who took the drug over three months with an average starting weight of 196 pounds.

Barclays said Novo Nordisk was “very optimistic” about the amycretin pill and hinted it could progress through the development phase quicker than anticipated.

It comes as others, such as British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, have been racing to develop obesity pills.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca chief executive, said: “If you think about a billion people using one plastic pen every week, that’s a lot of plastic.”

He also said there needed to be an improvement in targeting the loss of fat specifically rather than muscle too.

He said: “Today you lose weight but you lose fat and you lose muscle... Most people, as soon as they stop taking the medicines, they regain fat, but not so much the muscle that they have lost – unless, of course, they go to the gym.”

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