Pemvidutide, a New Weight Loss Drug, Hopes to Take on Ozempic

A medication now in clinical trials is sparking interest because it can cause significant weight loss while minimizing loss of lean muscle — something its competitors don’t do quite as well. Researchers shared results from a phase 2 trial this week at the American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific conference.

Pemvidutide, manufactured by a company called Altimmune, belongs to a category of weight loss medication that includes semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound). These drugs mimic the activity of a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) that is released in the gut after eating. By stimulating insulin production and triggering feelings of satiety in the brain, GLP-1 medications lower blood sugar levels and curb appetite.

Unlike other GLP-1 drugs, pemvidutide also mimics the hormone glucagon, which instructs the liver to release stored sugar into the bloodstream.

How Well Does Pemvidutide Work?

The trial evaluated pemvidutide’s effectiveness in more than 200 adults without diabetes who were overweight or had obesity. After 48 weeks of treatment, subjects at the highest dose of pemvidutide lost an average of 15.6 percent of their body weight, and appeared to still be losing weight even as the research wrapped up. They also saw significant reductions in blood lipid levels, including triglycerides and total cholesterol.

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