What do GLP-1 agonists mean for obesity and NASH treatment?

By Tien Lee, CEO, Aardvark

With the development of GLP-1 agonists, drug treatment for obesity is looks promising. But it’s not for everyone, as Tien Lee, CEO of Aardvark Therapeutics discusses.

Will drug treatment become a standard part of weight management?
Current novel drugs like GLP-1 agonists are overall effective for weight management and often indirectly treat NASH and other metabolic conditions. There remains, however, a large patient population that cannot tolerate these drugs or do not see sufficient benefit and rebound after discontinuation needs still to be addressed.

Despite the challenges, current data shows drug treatment will certainly become more and more part of standard weight management. Expected is an increasing tolerance for earlier drug intervention both when it comes to lower weight limit as well as lower age.

What else do we need to consider?
GLP-1 drugs are evolving to become the standard of care, so new treatment modalities would need to demonstrate differentiation or complementary activity to gain regulatory and market acceptance. However, there remains a large part of the population still underserved with GLP-1 drugs alone due to intolerability, ineffectiveness, and cost.

Exploring the mental health of obese patients should also take a more prominent place. In addition, evolving understanding of weight management may also benefit from enhanced understanding of the microbiome and the gut-brain axis as it relates to the neuronal-hormonal network. A challenge, and opportunity, lies in the increasing need for multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Why now?
With the opportunity to catalyze a new era of drug development in metabolic syndrome, the need to come together to address questions and identify solutions becomes more evident. I look forward to learning how this is perceived in practice by providers and patients and how research reacts to the new challenges and opportunities at the 7th Obesity & NASH Drug Development Summit.

Tien Lee will be speaking at the 7th Obesity & NASH Drug Development Summit. To learn more, download the event guide.