Roche announced today it is acquiring Carmot Therapeutics for $2.7B up front with potential milestone payments of $400M. Carmot’s R&D portfolio includes clinical stage subcutaneous and oral incretins to treat obesity, as well as a number of preclinical programs. Carmot’s lead program is a Phase-II ready, dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist for the treatment of obesity in patients with and without type 2 diabetes.
“Obesity is a heterogeneous disease, which contributes to many other diseases that together comprise a significant health burden worldwide. By combining Carmot’s portfolio with programs in our Pharmaceuticals pipeline and our Diagnostics expertise and portfolio of products across cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, we are aiming to improve the standard of care and positively impact patients’ lives,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Group.
The world obesity market has soared as truly effective drugs, such as semaglutide and tirzepatide, have been introduced. Morgan Stanley estimates, “The global obesity market could go from a $2.4 billion category in 2022 to reach $77 billion in 2030, up from our previous estimate for a $54 billion.” This has led to a slew of deals as companies seek to get a piece of this market.
This acquisition gives Roche access to a differentiated portfolio of incretins including:
- CT-388, Carmot’s lead asset, is a dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist for the treatment of obesity in patients with and without type 2 diabetes. Injected subcutaneously once a week, it has potential as a standalone and combination therapy to improve weight loss and to be expanded to other indications.
- CT-996, a once-daily oral, small molecule GLP-1 receptor agonist currently in Phase-I intended to treat obesity in patients with and without type 2 diabetes.
- CT-868, a Phase-II, once-daily subcutaneous injectable, dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist intended for the treatment of type 1 diabetes patients with overweight or obesity.
“We are encouraged by the clinical data for the lead asset CT-388, which demonstrated substantial weight loss in Phase Ib. These data suggest the potential for a differentiated profile to treat obesity and its associated diseases”, says Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development. “The broad Carmot portfolio offers different routes of administration and opportunities to develop combination therapies that treat obesity and potentially other indications.”
Incretins are gut hormones that are secreted after food intake and play a role in modulating blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and suppressing appetite. Carmot’s portfolio’s applications could also be expanded, since incretins play a role in other conditions including cardiovascular, retinal. and neurodegenerative disease.
In their release, Roche said “The existing clinical data for Carmot’s assets, especially the lead asset CT-388, suggests a best-in-class potential to achieve and maintain weight loss with differentiated efficacy. Moreover, the assets provide an opportunity for combinations with existing Roche pipeline assets including ones focused on other benefits, such as preserving muscle mass.”
More than a decade ago Roche studied a long-acting GLP-1 agonist, named taspoglutide in diabetes. But this project was abandoned due to severe side effects, including nausea and vomiting.