What To Know About Pemvidutide—Altimmune Says Weight Loss Drug Minimized Muscle Mass Loss In Trial

Published 25 days ago
By Forbes | Ty Roush
Hand of an elderly woman pouring a small assortment of pills onto the palm of her hand


Altimmune’s experimental weight loss drug pemvidutide minimized the loss of muscle mass while losing weight, mimicking the effects of diet and exercise, according to the results of a small trial by the company, amid efforts by biotech firms to study how increasingly popular weight-loss drugs can maintain muscle mass.


In a mid-stage trial of pemvidutide, 74.5% of weight loss among 391 participants came from fat tissue while only 25.5% came from lean mass, results that are comparable to the effects “historically associated with diet and exercise,” Altimmune announced Wednesday.

The drug pemvidutide combines the GLP-1 hormone—a key ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy—with the hormone glucagon, a pairing the company is also testing to treat a common form of liver disease called metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, or MASH.


Over 30% of participants using a 2.4-milligram dose of pemvidutide achieved a 20% weight loss through a 48-week trial of the drug, Altimmune announced in November.

The Food and Drug Administration announced last year it would fast-track its evaluation of pemvidutide for treating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, after more than half of the 190 participants in a trial had their liver fat content reduced to a normal level after 12 weeks.


Other popular weight-loss drugs have been studied for their ability to maintain muscle mass while helping patients lose weight. During a 68-week trial of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, over 1,300 participants using the drug lost an average of nearly 15 pounds of lean muscle and 23 pounds of fat. BioAge Labs announced last year it would be testing its muscle loss drug azelaprag with Mounjaro to treat obesity, after an early trial indicated azelaprag could help prevent muscle atrophy.


Additional data from Altimmune’s mid-stage trial will be presented at an unspecified upcoming event, the company said. Results from a study involving pemvidutide’s treatment of MASH are expected in the first quarter of 2025.