Altimmune shares plunge amid health concerns over obesity drug

·1-min read

By Scott Kanowsky -- Shares in Altimmune, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALT) slumped by more than 54% on Tuesday, touching their lowest level since June, as concerns grew over the safety of its obesity drug following a mid-stage trial.

The U.S. clinical-stage company unveiled results from the study of its investigational therapy pemvidutide which showed that it helped patients reach average weight losses of 7.3%, 9.4% and 10.7% at various dosages.

But some participants in the trial discontinued their treatment because of gastrointestinal issues, with one subject in particular experiencing a "serious adverse event" of nausea and vomiting that required rehydration. Other cases were of "predominantly mild and moderate" severity, Maryland-based Altimmune said in a statement.

Treatment discontinuation rates were 24% in patients receiving pemvidutide and 28.2% in those taking a placebo, the group added.

The results come as Altimmune is aiming to bring a treatment to the potentially multi-billion dollar obesity drug market. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is also researching whether its diabetes drug can be used to treat obesity, while Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) is already selling an injectable drug called Wegovy in the U.S.

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