Published on November 14, 2023, 12:46 am
Pfizer, the renowned pharmaceutical company, is making a move into the lucrative weight loss drug market. With its experimental obesity pill, danuglipron, Pfizer aims to compete against Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, the current dominant players in the field.
Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have been successful in the weight loss drug industry with their weekly injections for obesity and diabetes. Now, they are both working on developing their own pills for these conditions. In order to be competitive in this market, it is crucial for Pfizer to release positive data from its phase two trial on danuglipron by the end of this year. Investors are eager to see if Pfizer’s pill can deliver similar weight loss results as Eli Lilly’s once-daily pill.
Pfizer recognizes the potential opportunity in the weight loss drug segment. CEO Albert Bourla has stated that the market for GLP-1s, a class of drugs that suppress appetite and treat obesity and diabetes, could eventually reach $90 billion. Pfizer aims to capture $10 billion of that segment with its oral treatment.
However, investor confidence in Pfizer’s potential in the weight loss drug industry has wavered since the company discontinued its experimental once-daily pill earlier this year due to safety concerns. This leaves Pfizer with only the twice-daily version of danuglipron, which is seen as less convenient than a once-a-day treatment.
Nevertheless, there is hope that positive trial results will reignite investor enthusiasm for Pfizer. A weight loss pill could benefit all three companies by offering a more convenient option for doctors to prescribe and patients to take. Pills are also easier to manufacture compared to injections.
To be competitive with Eli Lilly’s once-daily pill, analysts suggest that Pfizer’s twice-daily danuglipron must demonstrate at least a 14% to 15% weight loss in obese patients. Data from previous trials on Eli Lilly’s pill and Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide have shown promising results with weight reductions in the mid-teens percentages.
Pfizer’s upcoming phase two trial data will provide insights into the effects of danuglipron over a longer duration. It examined the weight loss effect of the treatment in over 600 adults with obesity at different dosage amounts. The company is also planning to release trial data on a once-daily version of danuglipron next year, which is expected to be more competitive.
Physicians generally prefer once-daily pills over twice-daily drugs due to better patient adherence. A once-daily version of danuglipron could also potentially reduce gastrointestinal side effects associated with the twice-daily version.
Although investors are eagerly awaiting positive trial results, there is still uncertainty surrounding the readiness of a once-daily version for a phase three trial and potential FDA approval. Pfizer believes that this important step could be achieved by 2024.
In conclusion, Pfizer is seeking to establish its presence in the weight loss drug market with its experimental obesity pill. Positive trial results will be essential for Pfizer to compete against Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. The market has high expectations for Pfizer’s oral treatment, as it aims to capture a significant share of the growing weight loss drug segment.