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Pfizer Halts Development of Obesity Drug as Elevated Liver Enzymes Cause Concern

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Pfizer Drops Obesity and Diabetes Drug Due to Elevated Liver Enzymes

Pfizer Ceases Development of Lotiglipron

Pfizer has discontinued the development of its experimental obesity and diabetes drug Lotiglipron, due to elevated liver enzymes found during mid-stage clinical studies of the drug. The pharmaceutical company stated that elevated enzymes are an indication of harm to liver cells, no patients suffered from liver-related side effects or symptoms. Pfizer will instead target the promotion of Danuglipron, an oral obesity drug currently undergoing a fully-enrolled phase two clinical trial. The drug has shown promise and has successfully produced weight loss in Type 2 diabetic patients who took high-dose versions of the drug twice a day for 16 weeks.

Focus on Danuglipron

Pfizer says it aims to start its phase three clinical trial program on Danuglipron before the end of 2023. It is developing a once-a-day tablet to provide an alternative to the frequent use of injections. Pfizer's Chief Scientific Officer of Internal Medicine, William Sessa, stated that the company looks forward to examining the Danuglipron Phase 2 results and finding ways to maximize the therapeutic gain without compromising safety and tolerability for patients.

New Class of Obesity Drugs

Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists allow patients who have obesity, and type 2 diabetes manage their conditions because they help signal to the brain when a person is full and encourage insulin release from the pancreas, thereby lowering blood sugar levels. Pfizer's Danuglipron offers patients an advantage over frequent injections for an alternative to the current drug injection, Ozempic and Wegovy. Other pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, are also developing their experimental obesity and diabetes pills in the new class of obesity drugs. However, several uncertainties remain about the accessibility of these new drugs and their long-term efficacy.

New Drug Class Creates Public Interest

The new class of obesity drugs is piquing public interest and causing a weight-loss industry gold rush. While more than two out of five American adults have obesity, there is still uncertainty about the accessibility of these new obesity drugs, and questions remain about how long patients would need to take them to maintain the weight loss and whether they experience weight rebound once they stop taking the medication.

As Pfizer drops its Lotiglipron drug due to elevated liver enzymes, it refocuses its efforts on developing Danuglipron. This new oral obesity drug promises an advantage over current injectable options, providing an attractive alternative for those living with obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Although Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are pioneering in this new class of obesity drugs, few studies have explored its long-term efficacy or the effects of abrupt discontinuation. There remains uncertainty over possible weight gain regression or other complications that may require continued medication. Despite such concerns, a new drug class spurs public interest, creating a gold rush in the weight-loss industry. As a nascent business, the issues surrounding the short-term and long-term efficacy of these drugs in patients with obesity and Type 2 diabetes must be considered. Since more than two out of five adults in the United States live with obesity, emerging treatments must be evaluated in terms of accessibility and potential side effects. A business in the weight-loss industry must be prepared for the future as novel drugs become available and consumers demand more options.

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