Pfizer (PFE) – Get Free Report shares slumped lower Friday after the drugmaker said it would not advance a study of its two-dose obesity treatment following a high level of side effects in patients involved in the Phase II trial.
Pfizer said it would instead focus on a single-dose option. Trials of its danuglipron treated showed good results in weight loss but induced vomiting and nausea in patients, which led to what it called “high discontinuation rates” compared with those taking a placebo.
In late October, Pfizer’s President Mikael Dolsten, president of worldwide research and development, called the danuglipron study “our main opportunity here for getting data to review for obesity, in fact, to diabetes” in a call with investors.
For Pfizer, a setback in weight-loss market
The decision marks a significant setback in Pfizer’s ambitions to enter the weight-loss drug market, which is currently dominated by Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy. Pfizer rival Eli Lilly (LLY) – Get Free Report last month also won approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its own weight-loss treatment, Zepbound.
“We believe an improved once-daily formulation of danuglipron could play an important role in the obesity treatment paradigm, and we will focus our efforts on gathering the data to understand its potential profile,” said Pfizer’s chief science officer, Mikael Dolsten.
“Results from ongoing and future studies of the once-daily danuglipron modified release formulation will inform a potential path forward with an aim to improve the tolerability profile and optimize both study design and execution,” he added.
Pfizer shares were marked 5% lower in early Friday trading to change hands at $28.94 each, a move that would extend the stock’s six-month decline to around 24%.
Pfizer slashed its full-year sales and profit forecasts in October amid a slump in demand for covid treatments, It told investors it would write off around $4.6 billion in inventories of Paxlovid, its oral covid treatment, while taking a further $5.5 billion noncash charge against its third-quarter earnings.