Nutritionist calculating body mass index of woman for obesity treatment in a clinic room. Current research shows the gut microbiome may also influence risk for obesity.
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A new test from Phenomix Sciences can identify responders to semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy), according to a study led by Mayo Clinic and presented at Digestive Disease Week 2024—May 18 through May 21. This test answers a key need, as semaglutide is much more effective than previous weight loss drugs. However, clinical studies reveal considerable variability in patient response and it is expensive.

“We are excited with the results of this independent study of Phenomix’s MyPhenome test at Mayo Clinic,” said Mark Bagnall, CEO of Phenomix Sciences. “Demand for semaglutide marketed as Ozempic and Wegovy, is at an all-time high; this study showed an ability to identify responders to semaglutide using our test. We are excited about what lies ahead in precision medicine for obesity and are hopeful our test will be a pivotal tool for clinicians across the U.S.”

It’s estimated that more than one billion people worldwide have a BMI of 30 or more already, and that number is expected to grow. It’s thought that GLP-1 antagonist semaglutide and similar drugs could turn that tide…Morgan Stanley Research now expects the market for obesity drugs to reach $77 billion by 2030.

This Mayo study titled, “Performance of a Machine-Learning Gene Risk Score Biomarker on Predicting Response to Semaglutide,” enrolled 84 participants with obesity (BMI 38.8±6.9 kg/m2) who were prescribed semaglutide. The patients were tested using the MyPhenome test and the data analyzed using its Machine-Learning Gene Risk Score (ML-GRS) to categorize them as Hungry Gut positive or negative. 

Phenomix recently launched its three-in-one MyPhenome obesity phenotyping test, including Hungry Gut, Hungry Brain, and Emotional Hunger in the U.S. The  Hungry Gut phenotype refers to patients who have altered postprandial satiety, meaning food passes through the stomach more rapidly causing them to feel hungry sooner after a meal.

This study revealed that individuals identified as Hungry Gut positive achieved 19.5 total body weight loss (TBWL) at the 12-month mark, while the negative counterparts experienced only 10% TBWL. The MyPhenome test thus may mitigate the variability in outcomes by detecting patients more likely to have a better response to semaglutide.

Hurtado Andrade, PI of the study, said, “Our data support that obesity has a strong genetic and biological basis that varies within patients living with obesity. Furthermore, our results underscore the potential of individualizing therapy to improve outcomes that will ultimately translate into improved health.”

The test was first developed by Phenomix’s co-founders and Mayo Clinic physicians, Andres Acosta, MD, PhD, and Michael Camilleri, MD. They believe that using the MyPhenome test and the company’s machine learning algorithms, providers can more precisely develop treatment plans, including a diet intervention specific to Hungry Gut and semaglutide medications.

Phenomix co-founder and associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, Acosta was among a group selected to present these findings at the Presidential Plenary session at DDW, led by Maria Daniela Hurtado Andrade, MD, PhD, endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, and Sima Fansa, MD, Mayo Clinic fellow.

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