On Monday 9 January 2024, Amgen presented at JP Morgan’s 42nd Annual Healthcare Conference 2024 (JPM24), highlighting the company’s pillars of business. One of these was the general medicine franchise, which includes the obesity space. The company has two promising pipeline agents in development for obesity that address the unmet needs of improved efficacy, speed of weight loss and potentially better maintenance of weight loss when treatment ends, along with the possibility of monthly dosing. Amgen has therefore showcased that it has the potential to compete with established leaders.

Amgen is focusing its endeavours on innovation within the obesity space, where it currently has two therapies in the pipeline. One of these is maridebart cafraglutide, formerly known as AMG-133. This therapy is in Phase II development and works via a combination glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor mechanism of action. Amgen’s other therapy in the pipeline for obesity is AMG-786, which is currently in Phase I of development and works via an undisclosed mechanism of action. Amgen also has six medicines for obesity currently in preclinical development.

Possibility of monthly dosage

Robert Bradway, CEO and chairman of Amgen, revealed that the combination of GLP-1RA and GIPRA in maridebart cafraglutide gives rise to the possibility of monthly dosing, in addition to providing an improved efficacy and speed of weight loss and potentially improved maintenance of this loss. Monthly dosing is of paramount interest within the obesity space, as currently marketed GLP-1RA therapies require daily or weekly administration.

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) interviewed by GlobalData also noted that upon termination of GLP-1RA administration, patients regain the weight they lost during treatment. If the results of the Phase II trial for maridebart cafraglutide, expected to be released by the end of 2024, are positive, these features may make the drug a game changer within the obesity space. The therapy might also be used in other indications, such as heart disease and kidney disease, as in the case of other GLP-1RAs currently on the market.

$27.6 billion US market by 2031

However, Amgen will face a fierce battle with established leaders in the obesity space, such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, to obtain a slice of this lucrative market. The need for therapies that have better efficacy, lead to more significant weight loss and provide better maintenance of weight loss benefits is an area on which pharmaceutical companies continue to focus. The obesity market is anticipated to reach a value of $27.6 billion in the US by 2031, according to GlobalData’s patient-based forecast. At JPM24, Amgen showcased its meticulous efforts in strongly penetrating the obesity space and aiming to make a difference in this indication globally through addressing the vital unmet needs that still prevail.

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct title of Robert Bradway.

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By GlobalData