Zealand Pharma says drug shows improvement in fatty liver disease patients

By Thomson Reuters Jun 6, 2024 | 8:04 AM

(Reuters) – Denmark’s Zealand Pharma said on Thursday its experimental weight-loss drug showed an improvement in patients with a type of fatty liver disease after results from a mid-stage study were leaked, sending its shares up nearly 7%.

The company said the data from the trial in patients with metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) was unintentionally and temporarily leaked ahead of its scheduled release on Friday at the European Association for the Study of Liver Congress.

A spokesperson for Zealand’s German partner Boehringer Ingelheim said the full data will be released on Friday.

The results also showed the drug, survodutide, reduced liver scarring in MASH patients in stages one to three of fibrosis.

The drug, which belongs to the GLP-1 class such as Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound and Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, is set to challenge the obesity treatment market leaders that have also reported strong data for their weight loss drugs for treating MASH.

MASH, earlier called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is a severe type of fatty liver disease in which excess fat builds up in the liver and causes inflammation and fibrosis, or scarring, of the organ.

The new data confirmed the benefits of using survodutide in MASH patients as seen in data released in February, Zealand said.

The companies had then said that up to 83% of trial participants treated with survodutide reported an improvement in their symptoms, compared with 18.2% in a comparable group on a placebo.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)