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More Obesity Drugs In The Pipeline

January 20, 2024

Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly aren’t the only drug companies active in the prescription diet drugs space.

Viking Therapeutics has a dual GLP-1/GIP agonist in Phase 2 clinical trials for treating obesity and liver fat reduction for injectable and oral administration.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals has an FDA-approved treatment for the treatment of MC4R-pathway-related obesity disorders, including Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) and hyperphagia, an extreme, uncontrollable and compulsive compulsion to eat.

Rhythm is a Phase 3 clinical trial for hypothalamic disorder (HO), a type of obesity caused by a damaged hypothalamus, a part of the brain responsible for regulating appetite and body weight.

Viking Therapeutics Inc. NASDAQ: VKTX is a clinical-stage biotech focused on developing treatments for metabolic and endocrine disorders. The company’s top candidate is VK2735, a dual agonist for the GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). Rather than target one hormone, this medication targets two agonists in GLP-1 and GIP, similar to Mounjaro and Zepbound. Viking is working on both an oral formulation and an injection. 

Altimmune Inc. NASDAQ: ALT has a GLP-1 candidate, pemvidutide, intended to treat NASH. It has shown an average weight loss of 15.6% after 48 weeks and a significant reduction in liver fats, with some patients even normalizing liver fat. Viking Therapeutics has $376 million in cash and cash equivalents to keep operations ongoing for years.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Inc. NASDAQ: RYTM is a commercial-stage biotech specializing in developing treatments for rare genetic diseases of obesity. They focus on treating kids and adults living with hyperphagia and severe obesity caused by melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) pathway diseases. Rhythm’s lead drug, IMCIVREE, is an FDA-approved MC4R agonist that stimulates the receptor to help regulate appetite and weight management for patients suffering from genetic conditions like BBS. The drug has been FDA-approved since November 2020 for rare genetic diseases of obesity.

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