Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche, has announced a significant strategic move in the obesity treatment market with its $2.7 billion acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics, a U.S.-based obesity drug developer. This places Roche among leading contenders like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly in the weight-loss drug sector. Carmot’s flagship product, CT-388, a once-a-week dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist injection similar to Lilly’s Mounjaro, has shown promise in Phase I trials and is poised for Phase II testing. Its market introduction is anticipated in the 2030s.
The move has generated optimism, reflected in a 2.4% rise in Roche shares, as the weight-loss drug market, potentially worth $100 billion, appears to have room for multiple players. Roche’s Teresa Graham, head of the pharmaceuticals division, expressed ambitions beyond merely competing on price, envisioning CT-388 as a leading obesity drug in its class.
This acquisition marks Roche’s re-entry into the GLP-1 field, following a previous exit in 2018 when subsidiary Chugai sold experimental drug rights to Lilly. The Carmot deal, expected to conclude in early 2024, includes additional payments of up to $400 million subject to achievement of certain milestones.
The deal is part of Roche’s broader strategy, under new CEO Thomas Schinecker, to diversify its therapeutic fields and rejuvenate its development pipeline, especially after setbacks in Alzheimer’s and cancer immunotherapy. Besides the Carmot acquisition, Roche recently committed $7.1 billion for rights to a new drug for inflammatory bowel disease.
Carmot, founded in 2008, has a portfolio of various gut-hormone drug candidates, in both pill and injectable forms, designed to treat obesity in patients with and without diabetes. This acquisition underlines Roche’s commitment to expanding its presence in the evolving field of obesity treatment.Read More
Britain is grappling with an obesity crisis that is inflicting a staggering economic toll of nearly £100 billion annually, as per a comprehensive report by the Tony Blair Institute. This figure, highlighted in a report published by The Times, indicates that the impact of obesity on national productivity is far more severe than previously estimated, being ninefold higher.
The financial implications are forecasted to escalate by an additional £10 billion over the coming 15 years. This total cost, inclusive of the £63 billion attributed to shorter life spans and compromised health due to obesity, equates to roughly 4% of the nation’s GDP.
Henry Dimbleby, the former government advisor on food, is advocating for stringent measures akin to those applied to tobacco, targeting junk food. He warns that without decisive action, Britain risks becoming a nation burdened by illness and economic decline. Dimbleby is poised to highlight these concerns in a speech at a Royal Society conference, stressing the potential strain on the NHS and consequent economic stagnation.
Amid these warnings, the government has postponed initiatives like the 9pm junk food advertising watershed and restrictions on promotional deals for unhealthy food products until 2025. Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has expressed a desire to offer health guidance in a non-patronising manner.
A Department of Health spokesperson reiterated the government’s commitment to tackling obesity, pointing to initiatives like food-labelling standards, investment in school sports, and healthy food vouchers for underprivileged families.
Hermione Dace from the Tony Blair Institute underscored the critical link between the nation’s health and its economic prosperity, calling for a revamped approach to promote healthier food options and discourage the profitability of ultra-processed and junk food.
The obesity epidemic has intensified, with two-thirds of British adults now classified as having overweight or obesity, a significant rise from half a generation ago. Notably, the average weights of British men and women have increased by 6kg and 5kg, respectively, since 1993.Read More
A new report by the World Obesity Federation predicts that more than half of the global population will have overweight or obesity by 2035. The report estimates that by 2035, 2.7 billion adults worldwide will have overweight, and 1.1 billion will have obesity.
The report points out that having overweight or obesity is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. The cost of treating these diseases puts a significant burden on healthcare systems worldwide, with the federation estimating it will cost more than $4 trillion annually by 2035, or 3% of global GDP.
The report warns that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem by limiting access to healthy food and exercise opportunities, increasing stress and anxiety, and disrupting healthcare services. People who have overweight or obesity are also more likely to experience severe symptoms or complications from COVID-19.
The report calls for urgent action to address the growing obesity crisis, including measures to promote healthy eating, physical activity, and access to healthcare. It also calls for better regulation of the food industry to ensure that healthy options are available and affordable to all.
The authors of the report note that the obesity crisis is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted response from governments, healthcare providers, and individuals. They stress the importance of a coordinated and sustained effort to prevent and treat obesity, which they believe is essential for the health and well-being of individuals and societies worldwide.
The authors of the report have said they are not blaming individuals, but instead calling for a focus on the societal, environmental, and biological factors involved in the conditions. The report’s findings will be presented to United Nations policymakers and member states next week.Read More
Published in The Guardian, “Higher obesity levels linked to lower productivity in England, research shows” discusses the findings of a new study that shows a correlation between obesity levels and lower productivity in England. The study found that people with obesity tend to miss more work days due to health issues and are less productive when they are at work, leading to a loss of economic output for the country. The article notes that the findings of the study have implications for both employers and policymakers, as addressing obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles could lead to improved health and increased productivity for the workforce. The article also highlights the need for comprehensive programs and policies aimed at reducing obesity levels and improving overall health in England.Read More