Innovent’s Obesity Drug Shows Similar Weight Loss as Eli Lilly’s


A new obesity drug co-developed by China’s Innovent Biologics Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. has demonstrated significant weight loss in a late stage trial, paying the way for its approval in the country to compete with the blockbuster from Novo Nordisk A/S.

Patients who took the higher dose of Innovent’s mazdutide for 48 weeks lost nearly 15 percent of their body weight in a study of more than 610 Chinese people who were either overweight or obese, the company said on Tuesday. Participants in the study received injection of mazdutide at 4mg, 6mg or a placebo in a 48-week period. It’s also found to have reduced liver fat by 80 percent at the higher dose, the company said.

This result has placed mazdutide’s efficacy largely on par with Eli Lilly’s Zepbound in shedding pounds, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Michael Shah and Leslie Yang. The drug is also being tested in a mid-stage trial in the US.

Innovent is seeking approval for mazdutide as a weight loss treatment in China. The drug’s sales in the country may reach $1.3 billion by 2030, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Innovent and Lilly are challenging Novo in a global obesity market that Goldman Sachs estimates will reach $130 billion by the end of the decade. Though competitive, the Chinese market is huge: more than half of adults are overweight or obese, government data shows.

The result came on the same day Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy was approved in China for weight loss, long after many Chinese have grabbed its diabetes medicine Ozempic containing the same ingredient to slim down. Meanwhile, local drugmakers are racing to develop generic versions of Novo’s Ozempic and Wegovy in anticipation of its patent expiration in China in the coming years. Lilly’s Mounjaro was also cleared in May for treating obesity, likely fueling off-label use for weight loss like Novo’s Ozempic.

Wegovy and Ozempic belong to a category of medicines known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, originally developed to treat type-2 diabetes. The drugs can also reduce appetite. Innovent’s experimental treatment works slightly differently, targeting another hormone as well.

By Bloomberg News

Learn more:

Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy Approved in China for Weight Loss

The much anticipated approval means Novo will provide a product for weight loss in the world’s second-largest economy and market where patients had been relying on off-label use of diabetes drug Ozempic.

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