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Altimmune weight reduction drug minimized muscle mass loss in trial

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Altimmune on Wednesday mentioned its experimental drug helped sufferers shed weight but in addition minimized the lack of muscle mass in a midstage trial, a discovering that might set it aside in a probably crowded market.

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Altimmune is certainly one of a number of smaller biotech firms which might be pushing to compete immediately with Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly within the rising weight loss drug space, or to get scooped up by bigger drugmakers that may assist carry their therapies to market.

The outcomes are an early signal that the biotech firm can handle a serious concern round these therapies, which have drawn unrelenting demand and investor curiosity during the last yr.

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Some well being consultants have mentioned that weight problems medicine may shrink vital muscle mass, which may elevate the danger of accidents and reduce power.

However in Altimmune’s late-stage trial, greater than 74% of the burden that sufferers misplaced after taking the corporate’s weekly injection got here from fats tissue and solely 25.5% got here from lean mass, in keeping with the corporate. These outcomes are much like these usually seen with eating regimen and train applications for weight reduction. 

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Sufferers who took a 2.4-milligram dose of Altimmune’s drug each week for 48 weeks misplaced 15.6% of their weight on common within the trial, with weight reduction persevering with on the finish of therapy, the corporate mentioned.

The corporate first announced that weight reduction information on the drug, known as pemvidutide, in November. 

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“Preservation of lean mass throughout weight reduction is vital, since extreme lack of lean mass has been related to adverse outcomes, corresponding to [a gradual loss of muscle mass and strength] and bone fractures, particularly in ladies and the aged,” Altimmune Chief Medical Officer Scott Harris mentioned in a press release. “There’s a rising appreciation that the standard of weight reduction is as essential as the amount of weight reduction.”

In a medical trial on semaglutide, the lively ingredient in Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, researchers examined the lack of lean muscle mass in a subgroup of about 140 patients. On common, individuals misplaced about 15 kilos of lean muscle and 23 kilos of fats through the 68-week trial. 

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These outcomes counsel the next fee of lean mass decline than in Altimmune’s trial. Nonetheless, Altimmune must conduct late-stage trials on its drug, so it is too early to say how a lot of an edge it has over present weight reduction therapies.

The 2 medicine additionally work otherwise. 

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Semaglutide mimics a hormone produced within the intestine known as GLP-1 to suppress an individual’s urge for food. In the meantime, Altimmune’s drug prompts GLP-1 and one other intestine hormone known as glucagon, which will increase vitality expenditure.

Altimmune can be creating that drug to treat a common form of liver disease called metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, or MASH.

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Different makers of weight problems medicine are additionally attempting to assist sufferers keep muscle mass.

For instance, Eli Lilly is testing whether or not combining its weight reduction drug with a monoclonal antibody from Versanis Bio may assist sufferers drop a few pounds whereas preserving muscle mass. The pharmaceutical big just lately acquired Versanis, which is a part of a slate of firms focusing on the muscle-loss side of weight reduction.

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