- Shares in Structure Therapeutics jumped Friday after the San Francisco-based biotechnology company released results from a small study of an experimental weight loss drug that appear competitive to rival programs from Eli Lilly and Pfizer.
- Over the 28-day Phase 1 trial, people taking the highest doses of Structure’s drug lost about 5% of their weight compared to the study’s start, up to around 10 pounds. There were side effects, most commonly mild nausea and vomiting, but no participants stopped treatment as a result, the company said.
- Dubbed GSBR-1290, Structure’s drug is a GLP-1 agonist, similar to the much in-demand diabetes and obesity medicines Ozempic and Wegovy. Unlike those, however, GSBR-1290 is taken orally rather than by injection, potentially meaning greater convenience.
Structure’s stock jump Friday — shares were up by more than 40% at one point — reflects investor enthusiasm for GLP-1 drugs, which promise to upend how obesity is treated.
Already, demand for Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy as well as Eli Lilly’s competing Mounjaro has outstripped the ability of those companies to make sufficient supplies, leading to shortages. The drugs’ fast sales has in turn sparked a pharmaceutical industry gold rush to develop newer versions, in which Structure is a rising player.
Formerly called ShouTi, Structure raised $161 million in an initial public offering earlier this year, giving it fresh funds to advance development of GSBR-1290.
The Phase 1 data the company released Friday offer a hint at the drug’s potential, although the trial ran for just four weeks and involved only 24 people who are obese or overweight.
Still, company CEO Raymond Stevens said he was encouraged to see placebo-adjusted weight loss of up to 4.9% by the trial’s end. “Our target weight loss at 12 weeks in our longer ongoing Phase 2a study was 5% or better, so we are very encouraged to see 4.9% reduction at just 4 weeks in this study,” Stevens wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.
The percent reduction also compares well with data through four weeks in Lilly’s testing of an oral GLP-1 drug called orforglipron.
Umer Raffat, an analyst at Evercore ISI, called the data “competitive,” while Leerink Partners analyst David Risinger described it as “better than expected.”
However, Structure also revealed a delay in delivering results from that Phase 2a study. According to the company, a site in the trial failed to collect participants’ weight at the final week 12 visit for 24 of the 40 individuals in the cohort.
In his email, Stevens called this an “isolated incident” and said Structure is “putting measures in place such as additional onsite monitoring to ensure that this does not happen again.” The company will enroll 24 new study participants to replace those who didn’t have their weight collected, which will delay release of results to the first half of next year.
Structure said it remains blinded to the study, meaning it doesn’t know whether those 24 participants had been assigned to receive GSBR-1290 or placebo. The company also still expects to report in the fourth quarter summary data from the portion of the Phase 2a study that enrolled obese or overweight people who also have diabetes.
Despite the delay, Structure is moving quickly to capitalize on the Phase 1 trial results it has in hand. The biotech announced Friday a stock sale that it expects to raise roughly $300 million.