- Pfizer has started dosing patients in a Phase 2 study of its entry into a closely watched class of drugs for treating diabetes and obesity.
- The dosing of the first patient with the drug, dubbed PF-07081532, triggered a $10 million payment to partner Sosei Heptares, the Japanese drugmaker said Wednesday. Pfizer scientists working with Sosei’s technology discovered the medicine, and Pfizer is responsible for developing it.
- Pfizer aims to bring a once-daily oral treatment into a class of medicines known as GLP-1 agonists, which stimulate the body to produce insulin by acting on natural body hormones known as glucagon-like peptides. Most of the approved GLP-1 agonists must be injected.
GLP-1 agonists have proven effective in helping people with Type 2 diabetes keep their disease under control while also lowering their weight.
One of the more recent entries in the class is Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, an injectable treatment that, unlike previously approved GLP-1-targeting drugs, stimulates two hormones that regulate insulin production.
Mounjaro had a strong launch this year in diabetes and, if successful in an ongoing trial, may win an expanded approval for weight loss next year. Amgen, meanwhile, released data in November suggesting its experimental AMG 133 injection could help obese people lose as much as 15% of their body weight in three months.
Drugs like Pfizer’s PF-07081532 could offer an advantage as an oral treatment option. While Pfizer is beginning Phase 2 testing, Lilly plans to move an oral GLP-1 drug called orforglipron into Phase 3 trials next year.
Pfizer’s Phase 2 trial will enroll 780 patients, split between arms studying those with diabetes and those with obesity. The diabetes patients will either receive Pfizer’s experimental drug, a placebo or Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus, which in 2019 became the first oral GLP-1 drug for diabetes to win Food and Drug Administration approval. Patients in the obesity group will get either the Pfizer drug or a placebo.
The experimental Pfizer medicine emerged from a collaboration with Sosei that began in 2015. The Japanese drugmaker is also partnered with Lilly and AbbVie. The former collaboration focuses on diabetes and metabolic diseases, while the latter is center on neuroscience.