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Does Amgen have a weight loss drug?

Does Amgen have a weight loss drug?

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Created on 16 Jul 2024
Updated on 18 Jul 2024

Obesity is a growing global health crisis, with over 40% of adult Americans in the United States classified as obese. Despite the serious medical complications and reduced quality of life associated with this chronic condition, only 1-3% of patients worldwide receive drug treatment. Although the category of drugs that treat obesity is increasing, there are still advancements being made that could lead to more effective treatments.  The drugmaker Amgen is currently developing innovative and exciting new weight loss therapies.

The obesity epidemic

Obesity is a complex disease that affects a significant proportion of the global population. In the US alone, 74% of adults are either obese or overweight, with the worldwide prevalence of obesity tripling over the past four decades. This chronic condition is linked to a wide range of serious medical complications:

  • Increased risk of chronic diseases: Individuals with obesity are at a heightened risk for several chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke , diabetes, and various cancer types
  • Mental health challenges: The condition is closely linked with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which tend to escalate with increasing BMI levels
  • Impact on physical functioning: Obesity can severely restrict physical mobility and decrease your ability to perform daily tasks, contributing to a lower quality of life
  • Life expectancy and mortality: There is a clear correlation between obesity and premature death, primarily due to obesity-related diseases

Amgen’s pioneering approach: AMG 133

Amgen, a leading biotech company, has emerged as a trailblazer in the quest for effective obesity treatments. Their latest innovation, AMG 133, is a first-in-class bispecific molecule that simultaneously activates the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor and inhibits the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIPR) receptor.

The molecule is designed to simultaneously activate the GLP-1 receptor and antagonize the GIPR, a unique combination that has shown promise in preclinical and early-stage clinical studies.

GLP-1 is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels and appetite. By activating the GLP-1 receptor, MariTide can enhance insulin secretion, slow gastric emptying, and promote feelings of fullness, leading to a reduced calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. On the other hand, GIPR antagonism has been identified as a complementary strategy, as it can further enhance the weight-lowering effects by reducing the body’s ability to store excess calories as fat.

The dual action of these two mechanisms is what sets MariTide apart from other obesity drugs currently on the market, such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy or Eli Lilly’s Zepbound. By targeting these pathways simultaneously, the molecule aims to deliver a more potent and durable weight loss response, potentially offering a more effective solution for individuals struggling with obesity.

Promising phase 1 results

Amgen published in the journal Nature Metabolism the results of their Phase 1 clinical trial for AMG 133, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that enrolled individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 40 kg/m2. The data showed that participants receiving subcutaneous AMG 133 experienced weight loss outcomes, with mean per cent changes in body weight ranging from -7.2% at the lowest dose (140 mg every 4 weeks) to -14.5% at the highest dose (420 mg every 4 weeks) by day 85. Importantly, a substantial degree of weight loss was maintained beyond the treatment period, indicating the potential for long-lasting effects.

Safety and tolerability

The Phase 1 study also assessed the safety and tolerability of AMG 133. The side effects were mild, short-lived and generally gastrointestinal-related, such as nausea and vomiting. Significantly, these side effects typically settled within 48 hours, suggesting that the side effect profile may be manageable.

Advancing to Phase 2 trials

Encouraged by these promising Phase 1 results, Amgen started a Phase 2 dose-ranging study of AMG 133 in early 2023. This expanded clinical trial looked at the long-term effects of the bispecific molecule in a larger patient population, providing valuable insights into its potential as a game-changing weight loss therapy.

The Potential Impact of AMG 133

The development of AMG 133 represents a significant milestone in the fight against the global obesity epidemic. If the promising results from the Phase 1 study are replicated and expanded upon in subsequent trials, this novel bispecific molecule could offer a much-needed alternative in the weight loss drug market. By harnessing the synergistic effects of GLP-1 agonism and GIPR antagonism, AMG 133 has the potential to deliver substantial and durable weight loss, potentially improving the health and quality of life for millions of individuals struggling with obesity.


Given the dual mechanism of action and the promising data from early trials, Amgen’s drug MariTide is set to become a game-changer in the field of weight loss. Its development reflects a strategic blend of innovative science and a deep understanding of genetic and metabolic factors influencing obesity, setting the stage for a new era in obesity treatment.


Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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