Amgen has potential to compete with established leaders in obesity drugs

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Obesity GLP-1 Eli lilly Novo nordisk

On January 8, Amgen presented at JP Morgan’s 42nd Annual Healthcare Conference 2024 (JPM24), highlighting its pillars of business.

One of these pillars was the general medicine franchise, which entailed the obesity space. The company has two promising pipeline agents in development for obesity that address the unmet needs of improved efficacy, faster weight loss, and potentially better maintenance of weight loss, with the possibility of monthly dosing.

This may potentially set Amgen on a trajectory to compete with established leaders in the obesity space, according to GlobalData.

According to the data and analytics company, in the US, the obesity market is anticipated to reach a value of $27.6 billion by 2031.

Sara Reci, senior pharma analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Obesity is a disease that has significant unmet needs. In an effort to tackle this need, Amgen is focussing its endeavors on innovation within the obesity space, where it currently has two therapies in the pipeline, one of them being maridebart cafraglutide, formerly known as AMG-133. This therapy is currently in Phase II of development and works via a glucagon like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor (GIPRA) combined mechanism of action.

“Amgen’s other therapy in pipeline development for obesity is AMG-786, which is currently in Phase I of development and works via an undisclosed mechanism of action. In addition to this, Amgen currently has around six or so medicines in preclinical development for obesity.”

Robert Bradway, managing director of Amgen, revealed that the combination of GLP1RA and GIPRA in maridebart cafraglutide, in addition to providing improved efficacy, faster weight loss and potentially better maintenance of this weight loss, gives rise to the possibility of monthly dosing.

This is of key interest within the obesity space, as currently marketed GLP1RA therapies require daily or weekly administration.

Furthermore, key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData expressed that upon termination of GLP1RA treatment, patients will regain the weight they lost during GLP1RA treatment.

Reci continues: “Provided that the results of the phase 2 trial for maridebart cafraglutide, which are expected to be released by the end of this year, are positive, these features may make maridebart cafraglutide a game changer within the obesity space, and, as in the case of other GLP1RAs currently on the market, this therapy might also be used in other indications, such as heart disease and kidney disease.”

However, Amgen will have to face a fierce battle with established leaders in the obesity space, such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, to be able to obtain a slice of this lucrative market.

Reci concludes: “The need for therapies with better efficacy, which lead to a more significant weight loss as well as provide better maintenance of weight loss benefits, is an area that pharmaceutical companies continue to focus on in this space.”

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