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Roche to buy Carmot Therapeutics for $2.7 billion

Big Swiss drug firm will get obesity treatment program with deal

by Laura Howes
December 4, 2023


A diagnostics device being tested in a lab.
Credit: Roche
Roche says Carmot Therapeutics will benefit from expertise in its diagnostics division. Diagnostics equipment testing is show here.

Roche will scoop up the biotech firm Carmot Therapeutics in the latest deal in the hot obesity treatment space. Analysts at the investment bank Goldman Sachs recently estimated that the global market for anti-obesity drugs could reach $100 billion by 2030.

For $2.7 billion, Roche will acquire a portfolio of clinical- and preclinical-stage drugs to treat obesity in people with and without diabetes. Of Carmot’s three clinical-stage GLP-1 agonist molecules, two are peptides delivered subcutaneously, while the third is a small molecule designed as a once-daily oral treatment.

Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly and Company, which market the two approved GLP-1 obesity treatments, Wegovy and Zepbound, are working on oral versions of their peptide drugs. Pfizer recently announced positive Phase 2 clinical trial results for its twice-daily small-molecule treatment but opted not to advance the drug to Phase 3 and instead will focus on developing a once-daily version.

Roche says Carmot’s compounds could be combined with molecules in Roche’s own pipeline, such as those for preserving muscle mass. “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,” Roche CEO Thomas Schinecker says in a statement.

On Nov. 17 Carmot submitted paperwork for an initial public offering, but it has since become the latest biotech firm to be acquired for more than $1 billion. The number of investor-backed companies managing to go public has been low in 2023, and mergers and acquisitions have provided an alternative exit strategy.



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