Zealand Pharma reports positive top-line results with weight loss drug petrelintide

Patients in the study showed an average weight loss of 8.6 percent with a high weekly dose of petrelintide over a 16-week period.
Adam Steensberg, CEO, Zealand Pharma. | Photo: Stine Bidstrup
Adam Steensberg, CEO, Zealand Pharma. | Photo: Stine Bidstrup
af marketwire

Zealand Pharma has achieved positive results with its drug petrelintide in a phase Ib study, the biotech company announced on Thursday.

Patients in the study showed an average weight loss of 8.6 percent with a high weekly dose of petrelintide over a 16-week period. This compares to a 1.7 percent weight loss in patients taking placebo.

The Phase Ib study is the second part of a larger clinical trial of petrelintide designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and, most importantly, the efficacy of the amylin analog.

The study also showed that petrelintide was well tolerated by patients, with no serious side effects. However, two cases of nausea and vomiting were reported, resulting in one patient withdrawing from the study.

These are preliminary study data. The final study results are expected to be presented at a scientific conference later this year. Zealand Pharma also plans to accelerate the clinical development of petrelintide with the aim of initiating a Phase IIb study in the second half of 2024.

At least 10 percent weight loss at best

Zealand Pharma’s CEO, Adam Steensberg, has previously highlighted petrelintide as the crown jewel of the Danish biotech company. Petrelintide is an amylin analog and thus does not use the GLP-1 molecule as an active ingredient, unlike most other weight loss drugs available today.

Adam Steensberg therefore sees potential in patients who cannot tolerate GLP-1 agents.

Danske Bank has previously expressed doubts about Amylin as a stand-alone treatment. Prior to the publication of the Phase Ib study, analyst Thomas Bowers estimated that petrelintide would at best show a weight loss of more than 10 percent with a high tolerability and safety profile.

The 8.6% weight loss is below the analyst’s best-case scenario.

However, the result is at the upper end of Adam Steensberg’s own expectations. In connection with Zealand Pharma’s first-quarter report, he told MarketWire that he expected a weight loss of 7-9 percent.

Compared to Novo Nordisk’s Semaglutide, the active ingredient in the weight loss drug Wegovy, the weight loss was 6 percent after 12 weeks. A study from Novo with Amycretin, which combines GLP-1 and Amylin, showed a weight loss of 13.1 percent after 12 weeks.

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