Retatrutide’s performance seems to come from its unique way of tinkering with the hormones that control our appetite. Like Wegovy, retatrutide mimics a hormone called GLP-1, which helps to control blood sugar levels by signaling the secretion of insulin after eating. And like tirzepatide, the drug also potently mimics a second hormone involved with insulin secretion called GIP. But retatrutide also stimulates a third hormone, the glucagon receptor, which unlike GLP-1 and GIP is found in the liver — an addition that could be driving some of the drug’s benefits.
Indeed, significant weight loss isn’t the only reason people are excited about the drug’s early data. As I’ve written in the past, obesity medicines still need to prove they can have a positive impact on patients’ health. On that front, Lilly’s drug is already hitting some key metrics. For example, treatment with retatrutide led to a 20% reduction in LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, double the improvement typically seen with other GLP-1 drugs.
And higher doses of retatrutide lowered levels of fat in the liver by over 80%. Liver disease is so common in people with Type 2 diabetes that the American Diabetes Association recently recommended that all Type 2 diabetics be screened for it. And a small portion of people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease go on to develop a more serious condition called NASH, where accumulation of scar tissue eventually prevents the liver from properly functioning.
The hope is that the right weight-loss drug could tackle obesity, diabetes and liver disease all at once. While larger studies still need to be run, it’s looking a lot like retatrutide might be the one to take on that triple threat.
This article from the Nature may be also be of interest.
Obesity is a major productivity inhibitor as well as a major cost centre of the health care sector. Moreover, the promise of a pill that can help one lose 25% of body weight in a year is going to be a hit with anyone who has ever struggled keeping off the pounds.
Eli Lilly is quite overextended but continues to hold its sequence of higher reaction lows.
Novo Nordisk is currently unwinding its overextension relative to the trend mean and the DKK1000 level will need to hold if trend is to remain broadly consistent. The company has been the leader in diabetes medication for years, not that it has competition for a new market segment, the trend may be less consistent.
Glucose monitoring companies like Dexcom or Insulet may see their growth impeded as more convincing treatments for diabetes are more widely marketed.