The makers of the successful Ozempic or Wegovy weight loss products are now looking for a “formula” to maintain muscle mass while burning fat.

After the success of weight loss drugs Wegovy, Ozempic (both from Novo Nordisk) and Zepbound (from Eli Lilly), their creators had a new goal: find a prescription or treatment to care and maintain muscles while losing fat. We’re talking about new business that will bring in millions of dollars and add to the $100 billion in global revenue that this sector of the pharmaceutical industry is estimated to generate in the next six years.

Following the success of Wegovy, Ozempic and Zepbound, the anti-obesity pharmaceutical industry experienced a gold rush phenomenon. more than 40 companies developing weight loss products. Now this phenomenon may be repeated in this sector, in the search for a formula for caring for muscles and burning fat at the same time.

The race for potential muscle care treatments is accelerating. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals recently published data show that antibody treatment stimulated muscles in a small group of volunteers. Eli Lilly, for its part, agreed last year to shell out up to $2 billion for a startup with an experimental drug that aims to burn fat while preserving muscle mass.

Pharmaceutical business for muscle preservation

In this context, muscle preservation is an attractive goal for drugmakers who missed out on the first generation of obesity treatments and are looking for a foothold in this lucrative and fast-growing area.

Currently, Wegovy from Novo Nordisk A/S and Zepbound from Eli Lilly are the leading drugs in the weight loss market that can grow to 100 billion dollars according to Goldman Sachs, by 2030. Now both companies are also exploring treatments that can help patients maintain muscle mass while losing weight, the publication adds.

“We can get people to lose weight; now this is the next step,” Jennifer Linge, a senior scientist at AMRA Medical AB, a Swedish company that uses body scanners to study muscle composition, told Bloomberg. “The muscle part will be important in the next stage”argument.

Like obesity sarcopenia According to Linge, (loss of skeletal muscle mass and function) has been ignored for a long time. It is usually associated with aging, although chronic diseases such as cancer, HIV and diabetes can also cause this condition.

Unhealthy muscle loss

When people lose weight very quickly, whether through anti-obesity medications or bariatric surgery, they may face an increased risk “unhealthy muscle loss”. And if they stop taking their medications and gain weight, they risk gaining much of the fat back, an effect that can weaken the body over time, the publication explains.

This phenomenon has its roots in the body’s ability attack their own muscles to survive periods of fastingGeorge Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s chief scientific officer, explained to Bloomberg. “Strict calorie restriction helps stimulate the production of myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle growth,” he said.

In the 1990s, scientists discovered how to turn off the gene that produces myostatin in mice; Yancopoulos named the resulting rodents “Little Arnold Schwarzeneggers.”

While companies have long tried to use myostatin to treat muscle wasting diseases, proving that it can benefit patients “has been a challenge,” Yancopoulos said in an interview earlier this year. But patients who lose muscle mass on weight loss medications They could be a ‘public health disaster’He added that muscle holding drugs “could alleviate the catastrophe.”

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