A new weight-loss drug from Eli Lilly will become the best-selling drug of all time, according to analysts.
Tirzepatide — sold under the brand name Mounjaro — is expected to be approved for weight loss by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within months.
Analysts expect the drug – which is believed to outperform similar competing drugs – to make between $25 billion and $48 billion in the US in its first year.
That’s more than the current record-holder, Pfizer’s Covid jab, which grossed $36.8 billion in 2021, and more than double the $20.7 billion that AbbVie’s rheumatism drug Humira grossed in the same year .
It comes after Wegovy – a similar fat-melting shot – was approved for overweight children as young as 12.
The graph above shows how the weight loss drug tirzepatide works. It suppresses hunger by mimicking hormones that indicate the body is full. It also shows the passage of food through the stomach by reducing gastric acid production and muscle contractions
The graph above shows the estimates of how much the drug could make in a year (red)
Tirzepatide is already approved as a diabetes drug and is currently available off-label for weight loss patients.
It is given to patients as a weekly injection that can be done at home.
The drug then works by binding to receptors for two appetite-regulating hormones — GLP-1 and GIP — and sending signals to the brain that the body is full.
It also reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach and decreases the contractions of the stomach muscles, reducing the speed at which food moves through the organ.
It differs from Wegovy – made by Danish company Novo Nordisk – because it mimics the action of two hormones, while Wegovy only copies GLP-1.
dr Yale University’s Ania Jastreboff, who led clinical trials of the drug, announced tirzepatide as “much more effective than any other drug we’ve had to treat obesity.”
A phase 3 clinical trial in 2,500 obese and overweight adults found that tirzepatide reduced their body weight by a fifth in 72 months.
For comparison, studies on Wegovy found that participants lost an average of about 15 percent of their body weight over 68 weeks.
Scientists have hailed “incredible” results in weight loss and diabetes management from a clinical trial of tirzepatide, sold under the brand name Mounjaro
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accelerated its application for a green light for the weight-loss drug in October.
This category is reserved only for treatments that could treat serious medical conditions or address an unmet medical need.
Eli Lilly will continue to submit data, with Phase 3 clinical trials expected to be completed by the end of April 2023.
Bank of America analyst Geoff Meacham estimates annual sales could reach $48 billion once approved.
Another Wall Street analyst at UBS, Colin Bristow, predicted the drug could bring in $25 billion a year.
He told NBC News, “It’s just pretty clear how strong the demand is.”
In 2021, Danish company Novo Nordisk made around $1.2 billion from sales of Wegovy and its former weight-loss drug Saxenda.
Eli Lilly bosses have not revealed how much they will charge for the treatment once it is given the green light.
But dr David Rind, the chief medical officer of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s research group, suggests that tirzepatide could be marketed for about $1,100 a month — or $13,000 a year.
Wegovy costs around $1,500 monthly, while Saxenda costs around $1,350 for a 30-day prescription.
Some insurance companies will cover the drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, but most are likely to be reluctant to cover them for weight loss – meaning patients have to pay out of pocket.
Obesity is still viewed primarily as a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, making many insurers reluctant to adopt new therapies.
The predictions come even though tirzepatide is currently in short supply in the United States due to high demand, according to the FDA.
In mid-December, the agency warned of delays in the delivery of some cans as Eli Lilly struggled to keep up with demand.
The company is currently doubling capacity at its North Carolina facility, with work expected to be complete in late 2023.
“We expect temporary delays from wholesalers and pharmacies in receiving some Mounjaro doses,” CFO Anat Ashkenzazi said.
Weekly obesity shots cut diabetes risk in half and may trigger adequate weight loss, research suggests
An anti-obesity drug given in weekly injections halves the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a landmark study shows.
Patients can inject themselves with semaglutide, which hijacks the brain to suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake.
Overweight and obese participants who received the regular doses saw their odds of having the disease drop by up to 61 percent.
The drug, called Wegovy, was approved for use in England after it was shown to help patients lose an average of 15 percent of their body weight, the equivalent of 2.7 pounds.
There are around 4.5 million people with type 2 diabetes in England, costing the NHS more than £10 billion a year.
Researchers performed a new analysis of data from two previous studies of semaglutide to assess its effects on the condition.
Director of Studies Dr. Timothy Garvey said the average 15 percent weight loss is “sufficient to treat or prevent a wide range of complications of obesity that impair health and quality of life.” He added that this effect “is a game changer in obesity medicine.”