Pemvidutide: The Newest Weight Loss Pill?

Drugs for weight loss have been a hot topic in the scientific and medical communities and the media. A pill that can help you lose weight and avoid obesity-associated morbidity? Yes, please. Altimmune is a small pharmaceutical company which, in November 2023, released promising results about Pemvidutide, a dual-actin incretin drug. This blog covers all you need to know about this weight loss pill.
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

A blue image with text saying "Pemvidutide"

Pemvidutide: A New Peptide For Weight Loss

Pemvidtude is a drug targeting GLP-1/glucagon receptors, making it a weight-loss peptide with activity similar to dulaglutide and semaglutide and tesofensine.

What Is Pemvidutide Used For?

Pempvidutide is being investigated for obesity and metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH). Pemvidutide is not yet approved for the treatment of obesity and is still under investigation.

How Does Pemvidutide Work?

Pemvidutide is a double incretin agonist of Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucagon, meaning it mimics the action of these two peptides.

  • GLP-1 signals satiety when released from L-cells in the small intestine [1]. It travels to the brain via the Vagus Nerve or through the bloodstream, where it acts on midbrain areas to reduce food intake.

mechanism, Altimmune claims,

  • Glucagon acts in opposition to Insulin to increase blood sugar [2]. This mechanism, Altimmune claims, helps release excess sugars from the liver and alleviate MASH [3].

The Phase II MOMENTUM Trial Of Pemvidutide For Obesity

The MOMENTUM trial is the latest release of evidence supporting the efficacy of Pemvidutide in obesity, while also reducing triglyceride levels, blood pressure, LDL and cholesterol [4].

In the section below, we will cover the outcomes of the MOMENTUM Phase II trial.

Pemvidutide was tested in 391 overweight or obese individuals. To assess its effectiveness in weight management, participants were given varying doses of the drug, combined with standard lifestyle interventions of reduced caloric intake and exercise.

The results are pretty promising: participants receiving the highest dose of Pemvidutide (2.4 mg) lost about 15.6% of their body weight. To put that into perspective, this translates to an average weight loss of 32.2 pounds, with some participants losing up to 87.1 pounds.

But weight loss wasn't the only benefit observed. Over 30% of the subjects on the 2.4 mg dose lost over 20% of their body weight. There is potential for this peptide to also increase muscle growth or reduce muscle wasting.

Critically, the weight loss continued even at the 48-week mark, suggesting that longer treatment could yield more profound results.

And there's more good news for heart health. The trial reported substantial reductions in bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, indicating an overall cardiovascular benefit.

Safety Of Pemvidutude For Obesity

Safety is always a top priority, and the trial showed that Pemvidutide was generally well-tolerated. Most adverse events were mild to moderate, particularly involving gastrointestinal effects. These are consistent with other weight loss drugs, including tirzepatide, semagluatide , dulaglutide and liraglutide.

Notably, there were no major imbalances in cardiac adverse events, no significant increases in heart rate, and glucose levels remained stable throughout the treatment. This indicates that Pemvidutide may be better tolerated than its weight loss predecessors.

Phase IIb IMPACT Trial of Pemvidutide For MASH

In a second Phase II trial by Altimmune, they are studying the benefits of using Pemvidutide to treat MASH, for which there are currently no approved treatments. For the IMPACT study, they are using 190 subjects with MASH liver disease but without diabetes.

Preliminary results indicate a reduction in liver fat content, stabilisation of liver inflammation markers and even weight loss [3]. The full report is expected at the beginning of 2025, so watch out!

Summary: What Is Pemvidutide?

To summarise, Pemvidutide is a peptide under investigation for treating obesity and specific liver conditions. It is currently in Phase II trials, meaning it is still not approved for general use and has only been investigated by brand-sponsored studies. Nonetheless, the outcomes are promising, and Pemvidutide is definitely a drug worth looking for in the not-so-distant future.

*Disclaimer: The results discussed here are from a Phase 2 clinical trial. Pemvidutide is not yet approved for the treatment of obesity and is still under investigation.*

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.