Zafgen's obesity drug hits the mark in orphan disease trial

Zafgen's ($ZFGN) in-development obesity treatment led to significant weight loss in patients with obesity triggered by a brain injury, meeting its goals and sending the biotech's shares up nearly 8%. Presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, the latest data found Zafgen's beloranib reduced body weight in sufferers of hypothalamic injury-associated obesity (HIAO) by about 7.5 pounds, significantly beating out the roughly half-pound reduction on placebo. The drug, a subcutaneous injection, led to no early early discontinuations and no severe or serious adverse events, Zafgen said. Beloranib previously came through in a mid-stage trial on the rare Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), which leads to insatiable hunger, and posted excellent results against severe obesity. Now Zafgen is working through a Phase III trial in PWS with eyes on a future FDA filing. HIAO, an orphan indication, is most commonly the result of surgeries to remove brain tumors, the company said, with as many as 500 new cases cropping up in the U.S. each year. More