Altimmune Joins Weight-Loss Race with Phase II Win, Stock Jumps on News

Woman stepping on scale_iStock, mapo

Pictured: Woman stepping on a weighing scale/iStock, mapo

Maryland-based Altimmune on Thursday reported topline data from the Phase II MOMENTUM trial, showing that its investigational GLP-1/glucagon dual receptor agonist pemvidutide induced strong weight loss in adults with overweight or obesity.

At 48 weeks, patients who were given the 1.2-mg dose of pemvidutide achieved a mean weight loss of 10.3%, which grew to 11.2% and 15.6% in those treated with the 1.8-mg and 2.4-mg doses, respectively. Placebo counterparts only saw a mean 2.2% weight loss over the same time span. At the highest pemvidutide dose level, more than 30% of patients lost at least 20% of their weight.

Altimmune was trading approximately 34% higher in after-hours trading Thursday in response to the news.

Pemvidutide is an investigational peptide therapeutic that can activate both GLP-1 and glucagon receptors and is being tested for the treatment of obesity metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis. Its dual-agonist action mimics the complementary effects of diet and exercise, targeting GLP-1 receptors to help suppress appetite while the glucagon pathway increases energy expenditure.

Altimmune tested this mechanism of action in MOMENTUM, a mid-stage randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled study that enrolled 391 overweight or obese adults. Aside from body weight, MOMENTUM also looked at other markers of metabolic health and found that pemvidutide treatment likewise improved serum lipid levels and blood pressure.

Pemvidutide scored positive safety results while achieving a higher study retention rate than placebo. Most adverse events were mild to moderate in severity and the most common side effects were nausea and vomiting. Patient dropouts due to treatment toxicity increased with higher pemvidutide doses, most of which occurred during the first 16 weeks of treatment, according to Altimmune.

“We believe the magnitude of weight loss, robust reductions in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, together with the safety profile observed in this trial, could potentially differentiate pemvidutide from the other incretin-based therapies,” Altimmune CEO Vipin Garg said in a statement.

If approved, pemvidutide could be an “important option for obesity patients,” especially those who also have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, Garg added.

Thursday’s readout puts Altimmune in the same potential arena as Novo and Eli Lilly, the two most dominant players in the multibillion-dollar obesity market, which some analysts expect to reach up to $200 billion in value in the coming years.

In the third quarter, Novo’s Wegovy (semaglutide) made $1.38 billion, while Lilly’s Mounjaro (tirzepatide) earned $1.4 billion. Mounjaro is formally indicated for type 2 diabetes, but its active ingredient last month won the FDA’s approval for weight management, for which it is being sold as Zepbound.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

Back to news