Roche’s Strategic Move: The Swiss drug company Roche is going to buy the anti-obesity drug maker Carmot Therapeutics. Roche is the latest company to try to take Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly’s market share in weight loss drugs.
Roche’s Strategic Move: Exploring the Entry into the Obesity Market through Carmot Takeover
Under the rules of the deal, Carmot’s stockholders will get $2.7 billion in cash when the deal closes. They could also get an extra $400 million if certain goals are met.
Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Teresa Graham said Monday that the early stage technology of the U.S. takeover target could help make highly sought-after oral obesity treatments more widely available. However, it could be a few years before the drugs are widely accessible.
The CEO told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum, “These assets are all pretty early stage, so we would expect to be able to bring these products to market in the 2030s or later.”
Roche will be able to use all of Carmot’s current research and development assets, including both clinical and experimental ones, thanks to the deal.
After hearing about the deal, shares of the Swiss company went up 2.25 percent. They had been going down all year.
Based in California Carmot’s best drug option is CT-388, a shot that is given once a week. It is in a class of drugs called dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonists, which are the same ones that Eli Lilly uses.
‘s Mounjaro or Zepbound and act like a hormone that the body normally releases after eating.
In a statement, Roche said that the drug will now be tried on people in the second of three stages of trials. This comes after positive results from the Phase 1 study.
Carmot’s once-daily oral option, CT-996, is currently in Phase 1 studies. It could help Roche stand out in a market for obesity drugs that is getting more and more crowded.
“The items we’re buying in 996 have some interesting data on them,” Graham said.
She also said, “I do think that we will figure out how to give these drugs by mouth; it’s just a matter of time.”
Several drug companies are testing oral obesity treatments right now in the hopes of making them easier for patients to get. Reuters reports that last month Astra Zeneca said it would pay up to $2 billion for the rights to a trial pill made by Eccogene in China.
Analysts aren’t sure how well these kinds of treatments work, though, and Pfizer dropped its plans for a pill that would be taken twice a week last week after side effects went up.
It comes as a lot of new companies enter the global obesity market, which is expected to be worth $200 billion in the next ten years. At the same time, Novo Nordisk, one of the market leaders,
and Eli Lilly are having a hard time keeping up with the high demand.
Roche was one of the first drug companies to work on GLP-1 treatments more than ten years ago, but its first studies were stopped when patients dropped out. On Monday, Graham said that it is “great time” to get back into the market.
Graham said, “We have a lot of diagnoses experience from the diabetes franchise that we can bring to the table. I think it will be a really exciting partnership.” It’s great that Carmont was bought because it adds to an already interesting and varied pipeline.