Key Points

  • 1. Pfizer's decision to discontinue the twice-daily version of Danuglipron is a setback for their ambitions in the weight-loss drug market.
  • 2. The high rates of side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, raised concerns and led to a significant drop-out rate among patients.
  • 3. Pfizer remains optimistic about the potential of a once-daily formulation of Danuglipron and believes it could play an important role in the treatment of obesity.
  • 4. The market for weight-loss drugs is highly competitive, highlighting the challenges in developing effective and safe treatments for obesity.
  • 5. Patient safety and well-being should be prioritized in the pursuit of innovative solutions for obesity.

Pfizer, a renowned pharmaceutical giant, has announced the discontinuation of the development of a twice-daily version of its oral weight-loss drug, Danuglipron, after facing a significant setback during mid-stage trials. The decision was prompted by reports of high rates of side effects, primarily nausea and vomiting, resulting in a considerable drop-out of enrolled patients.

Discovering the Future

This development marks a setback for Pfizer's aspirations in the weight-loss drug arena. Danuglipron, which falls into the same class of medications as Novo Nordisk's Wegovy and Ozempic, as well as Eli Lilly's Mounjaro and Zepbound, originally targeted treatment for diabetes and obesity.

Although the twice-daily variant of Danuglipron did achieve its primary objective of weight reduction in adults without type 2 diabetes, the concerning incidence of side effects has redirected Pfizer's focus. The pharmaceutical company intends to pivot towards a once-daily, modified-release version of the drug, seeking additional data to comprehend its potential effects. Reports on this version's interaction with the human body are anticipated to be available in the upcoming year.

New Study

During the recent study, patients on the drug displayed a mean weight loss ranging from 6.9% to 11.7% after 32 weeks, contrasting with a 1.4% weight gain in the placebo group. However, these outcomes pale in comparison to Eli Lilly's once-daily experimental Orforglipron pill, which exhibited an almost 15% reduction in a trial involving overweight or obese patients.

Pfizer remains optimistic about the prospects of a once-daily formulation of Danuglipron. Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten expressed belief in the potential of an improved once-daily version to play a pivotal role in obesity treatment.

While the observed side effects in the twice-daily version study were predominantly mild, the alarming frequency of these incidents and subsequent patient drop-outs raise red flags. Up to 73% of patients reported nausea, 47% reported vomiting, and 25% reported diarrhea. Pfizer clarified that no new safety concerns emerged during the study.

The termination of the twice-daily Danuglipron version casts doubt on the viability of this particular formulation. Pfizer's shift of focus to a once-daily iteration demonstrates their commitment to discovering a more manageable and efficacious option for individuals combating obesity.

The weight-loss drug market is fiercely competitive, with numerous pharmaceutical entities vying for market share. Pfizer's setback underscores the complexities in developing safe and effective obesity treatments. As Pfizer intensifies its research efforts, the emphasis on patient safety remains paramount in the quest for innovative solutions.

In conclusion, Pfizer's decision to halt the twice-daily version of Danuglipron due to prevalent side effects presents a challenge to the company's ambitions in the weight-loss drug realm. The company now looks towards a once-daily formulation, aiming to provide a more tolerable and efficient option for patients. This situation underscores the importance of prioritizing patient safety in the pursuit of cutting-edge obesity treatments.


  • Ticker PFE
  • Exchange NYSE
  • Sector Healthcare
  • Industry Drug Manufacturers—General
  • Shares Outstandng 5,612,349,952
  • Market Cap $146B
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  • Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells biopharmaceutical products worldwide. It offers medicines and vaccines in various therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular metabolic and women's health under the Premarin family and Eliquis brands; biologics, small molecules, immunotherapies, and biosimilars under ...
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