Published on November 10, 2023, 12:51 am
Bill McColl, a senior producer and writer with over 25 years of experience in the media industry, has brought us some exciting news. AstraZeneca, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, has announced a new deal for an experimental weight-loss pill. Alongside this news, they have also raised their guidance on higher demand for their cancer treatments.
The weight-loss pill known as ECC504 is being developed by Shanghai-based company Eccogene. In a Phase 1 study, this once-daily oral treatment showed promise in reducing weight. Not only that, but ECC504 is also designed to treat type 2 diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases.
As part of the licensing agreement between AstraZeneca and Eccogene, the latter will receive an upfront payment of $185 million. Moreover, there is potential for an additional $1.825 billion in future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones. On top of that, Eccogene will receive tiered royalties on sales. This deal grants AstraZeneca exclusive global developmental and commercialization rights to ECC504, except in China where Eccogene has retained the right to produce the drug with AstraZeneca’s cooperation.
This exciting announcement from AstraZeneca comes hot on the heels of another notable development in the weight-loss medication market. Just recently, Eli Lilly received regulatory approval for Zepbound – an injectable medicine aimed at helping people lose weight. The active ingredient in Zepbound, tirzepatide, was previously approved under the brand name Mounjaro for treating type 2 diabetes. Diabetes drugs like Mounjaro and Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy have seen a surge in demand due to their demonstrated ability to aid in weight loss.
In addition to its weight-loss endeavors, AstraZeneca reported impressive financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2023. The company recorded earnings per share (EPS) of $1.73, with a 4% increase in revenue compared to the previous year, totaling $11.49 billion. These figures exceeded expectations, although sales were slightly impacted by declining demand for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 medicines.
Buoyed by its strong performance in Q3, AstraZeneca has revised its full-year revenue guidance. The company now anticipates a mid-single-digit percent gain, up from the previous low-to-mid-single-digit estimate. Excluding COVID-19 medicines from the equation, they expect sales to rise by a low-teens percent, as opposed to their earlier projection of low-double-digit growth. Core EPS is also expected to see an increase ranging from low-double-digit to low-teens percent.
Following this news, American depositary receipts of AstraZeneca experienced a surge of over 2% in early trading on Thursday. Despite this positive response, the stock remains lower for the year as a whole.
The race to develop effective and safe weight-loss treatments continues, and AstraZeneca seems determined to be at the forefront. With their licensing agreement for ECC504 and promising financial results, they are poised for further success in both the pharmaceutical market and helping individuals achieve their weight-loss goals.
“AstraZeneca licenses novel agent for the treatment of cardiometabolic conditions and obesity.”
“AstraZeneca 9M and Q3 2023 results.”