Amidst the rapidly growing revenue share of metabolic disease drugs in its pipeline, Eli Lilly is looking to delve deeper into its pharmaceutical exploration of obesity therapeutics, said medical director Axel Haupt.
Haupt was speaking at a panel at the ongoing Bio-Europe 2023 conference, where he said drugs like Lilly’s Mounjaro (tirzepatide) carry potential to be used in for several conditions. The US Food and Drug Administration approved Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro for diabetes in May 2022, followed by the European Union in September 2022. The drug is administered via injection in a once-weekly regimen.
Haupt revealed that an FDA approval for Mounjaro for treating obesity could be expected within the next 12 months.
Obesity and diabetes treatment would likely not be the only use for Mounjaro, given the presence of GIP receptors in other locations like the adipose tissue, Haupt said.
Eli Lilly sees potential use for the drug in indications like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), urinary stress incontinence, and dyslipidaemia. The pharma giant is also analysing results from its SURMOUNT and SURPASS clinical programs to identify the drug’s effects on factors like cardiovascular risk, added Haupt.
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However, Haupt also highlighted Eli Lilly’s pipeline of earlier-stage obesity therapeutics bubbling under the surface. He brought attention to bimagrumab as a promising contender for the current obesity ecosystem. Bimagrumab is an antibody that blocks activin type II receptors. Eli Lilly acquired the drug from Versanis Bio in August 2023 in a $1.9bn deal. The therapy is a fully human HuCAL-based antibody that targets ActRIIB. Haupt highlighted positive results from a Phase IIa study (NCT03005288), showing that the therapy increases muscle mass whilst decreasing adipose tissue in obese patients.