“Pfizer shares took a hit on Friday as the pharmaceutical company announced the discontinuation of a twice-daily obesity treatment. This decision followed the cessation of treatment by over half of the patients in a clinical trial.
The company revealed its shift in focus towards a once-daily version of the pill, danuglipron, instead of initiating a late-stage study for the discontinued version. Late-stage studies are typically the final and most costly trials undertaken by a drugmaker before seeking regulatory approval.
Obesity treatments represent a highly sought-after and lucrative field in medicine. Pfizer’s competitors, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, already have injectable drugs on the market. However, both Novo and Pfizer are actively working on developing pill versions that would offer greater convenience for patients.”
Pfizer reported that in a mid-stage study of twice-daily danuglipron, patient discontinuation rates exceeded 50% across all doses. This stands in contrast to the placebo or fake drug, which had a discontinuation rate of approximately 40%.
The pharmaceutical company also noted that the pills’ side effects were generally mild but widespread, with up to 73% of patients reporting nausea and 47% experiencing vomiting.
Researchers observed statistically significant weight loss in adults with obesity but without type 2 diabetes, ranging from nearly 7% to over 11% in patients taking the pills. In contrast, obese patients without diabetes who participated in late-stage research for Eli Lilly’s Zepbound lost about 18% of their weight compared to a placebo.
It’s worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration granted approval for Zepbound as an obesity treatment last month.
Dr. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer, conveyed in a statement on Friday that the company holds the belief that a once-daily version of danuglipron could play a pivotal role in obesity treatment, and as such, the company will concentrate its efforts on that development.
A Pfizer spokeswoman mentioned that the company is currently engaged in early-stage research on the once-daily version, with expectations to yield results in the early part of the upcoming year.
During midmorning trading, shares of Pfizer Inc., based in New York, experienced a decline of nearly 5%, reaching $28.98, amidst a mixed performance in broader indexes.
This downturn adds to the challenges faced by the drugmaker over the course of the year. Pfizer shares had already registered a 40% decrease before Friday’s announcement.