Eli Lilly’s potential weight-loss drug tirzepatide has shown positive results in a Phase III clinical trial, indicating at the therapy’s potential for patients with obesity and diabetes.
Tirzepatide represents a new class of medicines which are currently being investigated for the treatment of obesity. It works by activating the body’s hormone receptors for glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
People participating in Eli Lilly’s Phase III SURMOUNT-1 clinical trial for the drug saw a weight loss effect of up to 22.5% of their body weight. The study involved 2,539 adults with obesity, or who were overweight and had at least one comorbidity.
Tirzepatide was able to meet both of the study’s endpoints of baseline weight loss and a greater percentage of participants achieving weight loss of at least 5% compared to a placebo drug. Participants in the study achieved average weight reductions of 35lb on 5mg of tirzepatide, increasing to 49lb on 10mg, and 52lb on 15mg. Additionally, 89% of participants taking tirzepatide achieved at least 5% body weight reductions compared to 28% of those taking placebo.
Patients who had pre-diabetes when the study started will remain enrolled for an additional 104 weeks of treatment to evaluate any potential differences in their progression to type 2 diabetes compared to a placebo.
“Obesity is a chronic disease that often does not receive the same standard of care as other conditions, despite its impact on physical, psychological and metabolic health, which can include increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, cancer and decreased survival,” said Louis J. Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center and the Sanford I. Weill Professor of Metabolic Research at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Investigator of SURMOUNT-1. “Tirzepatide delivered impressive body weight reductions in SURMOUNT-1, which could represent an important step forward for helping the patient and physician partnership treat this complex disease.”
“Tirzepatide is the first investigational medicine to deliver more than 20% weight loss on average in a phase III study, reinforcing our confidence in its potential to help people living with obesity,” said Jeff Emmick Vice President, product development, Lilly. “Obesity is a chronic disease that requires effective treatment options, and Lilly is working relentlessly to support people with obesity and modernize how this disease is approached. We’re proud to research and develop potentially innovative treatments like tirzepatide, which helped nearly two thirds of participants on the highest dose reduce their body weight by at least 20% in SURMOUNT-1.”
Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 therapy Wegovy was approved last year by the FDA for chronic weight management. The drug was approved based on results from a Phase IIIa trial which showed an average weight loss of 17-18% for participants taking Wegovy.