Genomenon said today it has partnered with Rhythm Pharmaceuticals to create a database of genetic mutations associated with obesity as documented in published studies. Rhythm plans to use the data to better understand rare genetic disorders of obesity. [Visual Mozart/Getty Images]
Credit: Visual Mozart/Getty Images

“Next generation” weight loss drug developer Metsera just launched with $290M in funding. Backed by Population Health Partners and ARCH Venture Partners and led by former executives of The Medicines Company, Metsera has a broad portfolio of oral and injectable incretin, non-incretin, and combination therapies designed to address multiple targets.

“Metsera was purpose-built over the last two years to get ahead of the innovation curve in one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the history of biopharma,” said Clive Meanwell, the new company’s chief executive officer. 

Since the launch of GLP-1 agonists (e.g. Ozempic and Wegovy), the weight loss market has been booming, with high prices and long use leading to big profits. GLP-1s are a class of medicines that signal fullness to the brain and regulate blood sugar so that those taking them will know when to stop eating.

In 2022, 2.5 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight. Of these, 890 million were living with obesity. Morgan Stanley Research expects the market for obesity drugs to reach $77 billion by 2030.

“We have assembled a portfolio of long-acting injectable and oral agents to address multiple next-generation weight loss goals. With a proven team of world experts across multiple company functions, leading healthcare investors and proprietary health technology tools, we are well-positioned to rapidly advance our clinical stage pipeline and create value for patients, health systems and investors,” Meanwell said.

Metsera’s $290 million funding included participation from other leading healthcare investors including F-Prime Capital, GV, Mubadala Capital, Newpath Partners, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and additional undisclosed investors.

“We are in the early days of an incredibly exciting new era of innovation in weight loss and obesity-associated diseases,” said Kristina Burow, Metsera board member and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners. “Metsera’s portfolio is focused beyond the current generation of market leaders to address the full spectrum of future weight loss therapeutic needs, including effective weight maintenance, preserving muscle, less-frequent dosing, and better efficacy, tolerability and patient access.”

Metsera’s portfolio is sourced from the company’s proprietary library of over 20,000 gut hormone peptides and peptide/antibody conjugates. Development programs include parallel strategies and are focused on multiple next-generation targets and combinations. These include:

  • GLP-1 portfolio: led by an injectable, fully-biased GLP-1 receptor agonist in Phase I clinical trials with a potential class-leading duration of effect
  • A dual amylin/calcitonin receptor agonist (DACRA) engineered for class-leading duration of effect which is being combined with the GLP-1 receptor agonist
  • A unimolecular GGG (GLP-1, GIP, Glucagon) engineered for class-leading duration of effect and combination with DACRA
  • An oral peptide delivery platform, including two IND-ready candidates with potential best-in-class bioavailability and multiple first-in-class oral follow-on candidates
  • A range of other early-stage programs and delivery modalities

“Metsera’s portfolio is designed to unlock new treatment strategies through scalable, sustainable and personalized interventions for weight loss, weight maintenance and disease prevention,” said Sir Stephen R. Bloom, senior vice president of research and development at Metsera and head of drug development, metabolism, digestion and reproduction at Imperial College London.

He added that, “Through optimized combinations of injectable and oral peptides, we aim to establish a cycle of continuous and responsive innovation to address a growing worldwide obesity crisis.”

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