July 23, 2024

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Eli Lilly expects FDA call on Zepbound for sleep apnea in near term

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Eli Lilly on Friday said it applied for U.S. approval of its weight loss drug Zepbound for the treatment of the most common sleep-related breathing disorder and expects regulators to make a decision as early as the end of the year.

If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, the company plans to launch Zepbound for so-called obstructive sleep apnea “as quickly as we can” at the beginning of 2025, Patrik Jonsson, president of Eli Lilly diabetes and obesity, said in an interview.

Also on Friday, the company released additional data from two late-stage trials showing that Zepbound helped resolve obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, in almost half of patients. Eli Lilly presented the new data from the trials at the American Diabetes Association’s 84th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, on Friday.

“We’re super excited. … I think it actually went beyond what most external experts were hoping for,” Jonsson said of the new data demonstrating that Zepbound can help resolve the disorder in some patients.

It adds to growing evidence that there could be further health benefits tied to a class of weight loss and diabetes treatments that have soared in popularity and slipped into shortages in the U.S. over the past year. The data also paves the way for Eli Lilly to gain broader insurance coverage for Zepbound, which, like other weight loss drugs, is not covered by many insurance plans.

The pharmaceutical giant in April released initial results from the two studies, which showed that Zepbound was more effective than a placebo at reducing the severity of OSA in patients with obesity after a year. 

OSA refers to interrupted breathing during sleep due to narrowed or blocked airways. An estimated 80 million patients in the U.S. experience the disease, Eli Lilly said in a press release. Around 20 million of those people have moderate-to-severe forms of the disease, but 85% of OSA cases go undiagnosed, according to Jonsson. 

OSA can lead to loud snoring and excessive daytime…

2024-06-21 16:29:35

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