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Pfizer’s New Oral Pill for Obesity Drug Market


Pfizer has decided on the pill it plans to use to compete in the new obesity-drug market pioneered by major pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. However, Pfizer’s decision may not have been welcomed by investors, given the company’s 4.8% stock drop by midday on Monday.

Obesity treatments developed by Lilly (ticker: LLY) and Novo (NVO) have ravished investors’ attention in recent months. Lilly stock has taken an upward trajectory, propelling the company to the largest sector’s position, with a market capitalization of more than $430 billion. Lilly’s stock soared in response to the Mounjaro shot, which treats diabetes and obesity, and the possibility of it becoming a megablockbuster.

In contrast, Pfizer had previously touted an oral alternative to Lilly and Novo’s injections. The pharmaceutical company planned to develop two pills simultaneously; lotiglipron and danuglipron. It would then go ahead and choose one to move into late-stage trials.

Both the lotiglipron and danuglipron pills fall under GLP-1 receptor agonists and were being tested for obesity and Type 2 diabetes treatment. However, Pfizer announced that it had chosen danuglipron over lotiglipron for obesity treatment development. The stock price tumble may have been due to lotiglipron being a once-daily pill while danuglipron requires intake twice-daily. However, Pfizer stated that it is developing a once-daily version of danuglipron.

Pfizer’s danuglipron will likely face stiff competition from other similar once-daily weight-loss pills already in the market. Lilly’s orforglipron is an oral obesity pill that’s taken once a day and showed promising results in a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Novo’s high-dose weight-loss pill is also once-daily intake. Furthermore, biotech firm, Structure Therapeutics (GPCR), is testing a once-daily GLP-1 called GSBR-1290.

Pfizer’s new oral pill has yet to receive approval for use in the market.

Pfizer’s Decision to End Lotiglipron Program Raises Safety Concerns

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced that it will be discontinuing the development of its lotiglipron program after potential safety issues were cited. During a Phase 2 study, participants who received lotiglipron reportedly showed elevated levels of liver enzymes. However, none of the patients displayed any related liver symptoms or required treatment. This news has been regarded as negative for the perception of Pfizer’s GLP-1 program, while competitors, such as Structure and Lilly, have experienced a boost in shares.

Pfizer has continued to develop its danuglipron pill, which is currently undergoing a clinical Phase 2 trial. The company believes that the potential efficacy of this drug may differentiate it from competitors. Should danuglipron prove to be successful in clinical trials and be approved for use, the company says it may be in a prime position to differentiate itself based on its full receptor agonism, which would translate to robust efficacy. In May, investors displayed excitement over danuglipron’s efficacy and Pfizer shares subsequently spiked. By the end of this year, the company will announce its plans for late-stage development of danuglipron.

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