Advancements and Challenges in GLP-1 Based Therapies for Diabetes and Obesity

December 8, 2023

In January 2010, the FDA approved Novo Nordisk’s Victoza (liraglutide), a GLP-1 receptor agonist for Type 2 diabetes, offering once-daily glycemic control. Despite its success, Novo’s scientist, Lotte Bjerre Knudsen, expresses concern over the shifting focus of GLP-1s toward obesity treatment. Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, a pioneer with its GLP-1 drug Byetta, lead in a market expected to surpass $100 billion, with significant advancements in diabetes and obesity treatments through drugs like Novo’s semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and Lilly’s tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound).

The industry aims for more than just weight loss, focusing on quality and preservation of muscle mass. Lilly’s EVP Daniel Skovronsky highlights life-changing efficacy, citing a 26% weight loss in tirzepatide trials. However, the future lies in addressing the quality of weight loss and its long-term impacts, alongside managing side effects like nausea and vomiting. The need for more convenient, tolerable, and durable therapies is evident, with a shift towards oral formulations to meet global needs.

The sector also faces challenges like patient stigma, lack of training among healthcare providers, and low insurance coverage for obesity treatments. The industry envisions a transformative moment akin to Prozac’s impact on psychiatry, aiming to change perceptions and improve treatments for obesity.

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[Source: MM+M, December 1st, 2023]

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