Denmark-based Zealand Pharma has raised approximately DKr1.45bn ($212.5m) to fund the advancement of its obesity pipeline.

The money was raised by private placement and directed issue of 3,761,470 new shares, with the DKr1 nominal value of each share, to two US-based investment firms. The total placement represents approximately 6% of Zealand’s currently registered share capital, as per an 8 January press release.

The funds will be used to advance Zealand’s obesity pipeline candidates petrelintide and dapiglutide. Phase IIb trials investigating the candidates are expected to start in late 2024 and early 2025, respectively.

Zealand’s obesity pipeline

Petrelintide is a long-acting amylin analogue, which is being evaluated as a treatment for obesity. Amylin hormone is responsible for regulating glucose homeostasis by inhibiting gastric emptying and the release of the counter‐regulatory hormone glucagon, thereby inducing meal‐ending satiety.

Petrelintide showed a reduction in weight loss in the Phase I trial (NCT05613387) in overweight adults. Lean and overweight participants who received a single dose of petrelintide 0.7mg, 1.4mg, and 2.4mg for one week showed mean body weight reductions of 2.6%, 3.6% and 4.2%, respectively.

Participants who received 0.6mg and 1.2mg petrelintide for six weeks showed mean body weight reductions of 5.3% and 5.1%, respectively, compared to the placebo group which showed body weight reduction of 0.4%.

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By GlobalData

Dapiglutide is a dual glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1/GLP-2 receptor dual agonist. Zealand initiated a 13-week dose titration trial to evaluate the drug in healthy overweight or obese participants, as per a 9 November 2023 press release.

Dapiglutide is also being evaluated in an investigator-led placebo-controlled Phase II DREAM trial (NCT05788601). The study is evaluating two doses, 4mg and 6mg, of dapiglutide over 12 weeks. The trial is expected to enrol 54 participants and will conclude in August, as per ClinicalTrial.gov.

Another drug in Zealand’s obesity pipeline is a survodutide, a long-acting glucagon/GLP-1 receptor dual agonist. In November, the company initiated three Phase III trials evaluating survodutide in overweight or obese patients – SYNCHRONIZE-1 (NCT06066515), SYNCHRONIZE-2 (NCT06066528) and SYNCHRONIZE-CVOT (NCT06077864).

The obesity market has experienced considerable growth in recent years. The market for obesity drugs is forecasted to grow from being worth grow from $6bn in 2023 to $37.1bn in 2031 across the seven major markets, as per GlobalData analysis.

GlobalData is a parent company of the Clinical Trials Arena.

Several clinical trials are currently being conducted to evaluate new obesity therapies. Novo Nordisk is evaluating a version of semaglutide in a Phase III OASIS trial (NCT05035095). The trial met its primary endpoint by demonstrating a 15.1% weight loss.