Check Up: Here’s how diabetes drugs can help you get off the beers and lose weight
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Earlier this week, Pfizer surprised the market by saying that its oral diabetes drug demonstrated promising weight loss that could work as well as the current blockbuster drug, Ozempic.
Over 400 adults with Type 2 diabetes took Pfizer’s danuglipron twice a day versus a placebo pill for roughly four months. The results showed that every dose of the danuglipron pill reduced more of the patients’ blood sugar at week 16, compared to the placebo.
Here’s the kicker: the highest doses of the pill, 120 milligrams or 80 milligrams, “significantly reduced” body weight for patients at week 16, who lost an average of 10 pounds (4.5kg).
These results are similar to what was observed in Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss drug semaglutide (sold under brand name Ozempic).
The main difference is that Pfizer’s pill could be taken as an oral treatment option rather than a weekly injection.
Since the early 2000s, there have been approved anti-obesity drugs such as Orlistat, Contrave and Qsymia. Many of these however came with side effects, with studies showing that they could increase the risk of heart disease.
That all changed with the realisation that GLP-1 drugs, which began life as anti-diabetes meds, had an unusual side effect: weight loss.
Novo Nordisk had always led the field in GLP-1 drugs, and quickly realised it could tweak the diabetes formulation and create a new purpose-built weight loss drug – which eventually led to Ozempic.
It’s important to note that not all diabetes medications have weight loss effects. Some diabetes drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas, have even beeen associated with weight gain.
Ozempic meanwhile, which has stirred up Real Housewives drama and won praise from celebrities, reportedly has a “welcome side effect”.
Some patients say that taking Ozempic quelled their appetite for drinking, smoking, and other addictive habits, according to a report by The Atlantic.
One patient said that he went from drinking eight to 10 beers at social gatherings to losing interest in alcohol beyond two drinks.
Scientists believe this could be because drugs like Ozempic are rewiring the reward pathways in our brain, reducing the dopamine release from consuming addictive substances.
But for now, much of that evidence is still anecdotal.
Immutep jumped after announcing that its drug eftilagimod alpha (efti) combined with the leading anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda, generates meaningful long-term survival in non-small cell lung cancer patients in Phase II TACTI-002 trial.
An initial median Overall Survival of 25 months was reported in non-small cell lung cancer patients with >1% PD-L1 expression, a key area of focus for future development of efti.
These results are above reported rates of anti-PD-1 monotherapy and various immune checkpoint inhibitor combinations with and without chemotherapy, which is why the market was so excited.
Pharmaxis announced that a Phase 1c trial of its novel topical drug treatment for scarring has met its primary safety objective and two secondary biomarker endpoints in patients with established scars.
The study, led by renowned surgeon Professor Fiona Wood, assessed the safety and tolerability of Pharmaxis drug PXS‐6302 when applied to areas of established scars on adult patients.
Cream formulated PXS‐6302 is a first-in-class inhibitor of the lysyl oxidase enzymes (LOX) that are involved in formation and maintenance of scars, and is a potential breakthrough treatment for patients with problematic scars.
4DX says its CT-based ventilation-perfusion product has now progressed to a developmental stage, which will allow the company to release early clinical data.
Through this technology, hospitals can avoid the significant capital expenditure involved in mitigating radiation risks of operating a Nuclear Medicine VQ scanner.
“Our progress with CT:VQ keeps us on track for submission to the FDA in calendar 2023, and with an average turn-around time from the FDA, we expect to be in the US market around the middle of calendar 2024,” CEO Dr Andreas Fouras said.
The latest ASX biotech to achieve a key catalyst this year is medical device company EBR Systems, after announcing positive results of its pivotal SOLVE-CRT (SOLVE) trial at key conference in the US.
The study met both its efficacy and safety endpoints with statistical significance, allowing the study to conclude, and importantly, providing clinical validation of leadless pacing with the Wireless Stimulation Endocardially (WiSE) WiSE CRT system.