The FDA has agreed to take down one of the big hurdles hampering U.S. sales of Vivus' newly approved weight drug Qsymia, but plenty more remain.
Alta Partners has jumped into the venture syndicate, joining prolific biotech investor Third Rock and its high-profile colleagues at Atlas Venture, which are gambling that beloranib, which inhibits the MetAP2 enzyme, can set a whole new standard for weight-loss treatments.
Cambridge, MA-based Zafgen has taken another big step forward in its quest to develop a unique new weight drug. The biotech has laid out its plans for its first Phase IIa study of beloranib, which inhibits the MetAP2 enzyme.
As Bloomberg reports, study patients who took 400 mg of Zonegran daily for a year lost 7.3 kg on average, significantly more than the 4 kg placebo patients shed.
The trend could create a wealth of opportunities for the developers because of the blockbuster market for weight drugs, one that Big Pharma is unlikely to neglect despite past failures with anti-obesity meds.
To show just how delicate faith can be in weight-drug developers, Vivus' and Orexigen Therapeutics' shares took hits on Thursday amid buzz about potential weaknesses in Vivus' patents for the newly approved obesity pill Qsymia.
Chubby mice quickly shed 10% of their body weight when injected with modified somatostatin, a peptide hormone.
The quest to find a safe, effective obesity treatment that could be used by the flabby masses led one team of investigators to try out a new vaccine approach that proved promising in a preclinical mouse study.
A committee of non-agency advisers backed approval of the weight drug, lorcaserin, which went down in flames when last in front of the same panel in 2010 .
Oddsmakers are watching the FDA advisory committee that will consider lorcaserin this week very closely.