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Roche poised to enter anti-obesity medication market with agreement to acquire Carmot Therapeutics

Roche is poised to enter the lucrative anti-obesity medication market after entering into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Carmot Therapeutics, a privately owned US company. Carmot’s R&D portfolio includes clinical stage subcutaneous and oral incretins with best-in-class potential to treat obesity in patients with and without diabetes, as well as a number of preclinical programmes.

“Obesity is a heterogeneous disease, which contributes to many other diseases that together comprise a significant health burden worldwide,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche. “By combining Carmot’s portfolio with programmes in our Pharmaceuticals pipeline and our Diagnostics expertise and portfolio of products across cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, we are aiming to improve the standard of care and positively impact patients’ lives.”


Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay Carmot’s equity holders a purchase price of US$2.7 billion in cash at the closing of the transaction. Additionally, Carmot’s equity holders are entitled to receive payments of up to US$400 million depending on the achievement of certain milestones. Upon closing of the transaction, Roche will obtain access to Carmot’s current R&D portfolio including all clinical and pre-clinical assets, with Carmot and its employees joining the Roche Group as part of Roche’s Pharmaceuticals Division.


The proposed acquisition will give Roche access to a differentiated portfolio of incretins including:

  • CT-388, the lead asset is a Phase-2 ready, dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist for the treatment of obesity in patients with and without type 2 diabetes. Injected subcutaneously once a week, it has potential as a standalone and combination therapy to improve weight loss and to be expanded to other indications.

  • CT-996, a once-daily oral, small molecule GLP-1 receptor agonist currently in Phase-1 intended to treat obesity in patients with and without type 2 diabetes.

  • CT-868, a Phase-2, once-daily subcutaneous injectable, dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist intended for the treatment of type 1 diabetes patients with overweight or obesity.

The existing clinical data for Carmot’s assets, especially the lead asset CT-388, suggests a best-in-class potential to achieve and maintain weight loss with differentiated efficacy. Moreover, the assets provide an opportunity for combinations with existing Roche pipeline assets including ones focused on other benefits, such as preserving muscle mass. Incretins are gut hormones that are secreted after food intake and play a role in modulating blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and suppressing appetite. The incretin-based portfolio could also be expanded to other indications where incretins play a role including cardiovascular, retinal and neurodegenerative disease.


Upon closing of the transaction, Roche will also have exclusive access to Carmot’s innovative Chemotype Evolution discovery platform in metabolism to further strengthen Roche’s R&D efforts and portfolio across cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The transaction is subject to the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and other customary closing conditions. The closing of the transaction is currently expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.


“We are encouraged by the clinical data for the lead asset CT-388, which demonstrated substantial weight loss in Phase 1b. These data suggest the potential for a differentiated profile to treat obesity and its associated diseases”, says Levi Garraway, Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “The broad Carmot portfolio offers different routes of administration and opportunities to develop combination therapies that treat obesity and potentially other indications.”

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