Cardiology Pharmaceuticals

Tirzepatide Delivers in SURMOUNT-2

tirzepatide injection

Results from Eli Lilly’s SURMOUNT-2 trial are in, and they further confirmed that its GLP-1 agonist tirzepatide (aka Mounjaro) drives meaningful weight loss among obese or overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. That could be a big deal for the booming obesity care segment, obesity-related cardiovascular disease, and for Eli Lilly.

The trial had 938 adults take 10mg or 15mg of tirzepatide or a placebo over 72 weeks, finding that the GLP-1 groups…

  • Achieved far greater average weight loss (13.4% & 15.7% vs. 3.3% of body weight)
  • Had far more participants lose at least 5% of body weight (81.6% & 86.4% vs. 30.5%)
  • Had far more participants lose at least 15% of body weight (41.4% & 51.8% vs. 2.6%)

Tirzepatide met all key secondary objectives, which included reduction in A1C and other cardiometabolic parameters, matching its previous trials. The GLP-1 also achieved a similar safety profile as its previous trials, most commonly reporting GI-related events.

Tirzepatide/Mounjaro already has FDA approval for diabetes, and it now has two global phase 3 clinical trials supporting its potential for weight loss, following even stronger SURMOUNT-1 results among non-diabetic patients (up to 22% weight loss).

These trial results and Mounjaro’s track record among diabetes patients sets Lilly up for a promising weight loss FDA submission in the next few weeks, with an approval potentially coming by the end of 2023.

That approval would pour gas on the already white hot obesity treatment market, which saw semaglutide (Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic/Wegovy) generate over $10B in 2022. That’s a huge number, but the future might be even more promising for Lilly. Tirzepatide outperformed semaglutide in each of its trials, prompting some pharma watchers to predict that Lilly’s new GLP-1 will bring-in $50B annually.

Tirzepatide could also have an even greater cardiovascular impact in the future (beyond the benefits of weight loss and diabetes control), as the GLP-1 is being evaluated in a range of clinical trials targeting MACE, CKD, and HFpEF.

The Takeaway

Questions remain about the long-term effectiveness and safety of GLP-1s, and payor coverage for these meds has been a challenge, but tirzepatide’s trial results and the huge momentum in the weight loss space suggest that obesity care is about to change in a major way. It wouldn’t be surprising if the way clinicians and patients approach obesity-related cardiovascular care might change along with it.

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