2024-01-10| JPM 2024

JPM 2024: Pfizer’s Strategic Moves in the Obesity Drug Market and BioNTech’s Oncology Pipeline Expansion

by Oscar Wu
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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla (left) and BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin (right)

The 42nd JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, an annual forum for M&A negotiations and announcements, witnessed several significant developments, with multiple companies making major announcements. Other than GSK Buys Aiolos Bio for $1.4 Billion already mentioned in the previous reporting, GeneOnline’s editorial team made the Day 2 digestion, highlighting the blockbuster events.

Pfizer’s Stance in the Obesity Drug Market, Looking Forward to the Promising Drug Candidate

In the 42nd JP Morgan Healthcare Conference held in January, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer Inc., shared the company’s plans for advancing in the multibillion-dollar obesity market. Despite previous setbacks involving a terminated drug candidate due to severe side effects, Bourla affirmed Pfizer’s commitment to exploring licensing deals or early-stage weight-loss medications. 

Bourla highlighted the potential of the obesity drug sector, noting that it could reach a $100 billion valuation by the end of the decade. However, the CEO expressed reluctance to acquire later-stage obesity treatments due to their potential high costs. 

Pfizer is actively looking into other alternatives, such as its Phase 2b trial of danuglipron (PF-06882961) for adults with obesity. Although the trial met its primary endpoint of demonstrating a significant change in body weight, it was associated with mild gastrointestinal side effects, causing over 50% of patients to drop out. As a result, Pfizer adjusted its sales forecast for 2024, anticipating a revenue loss of up to $5 billion compared to Wall Street estimates, largely due to COVID-related setbacks. 

Furthermore, Bourla addressed Pfizer’s disappointment with the performance of its RSV vaccine Abrysvo, securing only about 35% of the U.S. market share. 

In conclusion, while Pfizer is cautiously optimistic about the obesity drug market, it is actively seeking opportunities to license or acquire early-stage weight-loss treatments. The company’s setbacks in the past year highlight the challenges of entering this market but have not dampened its ambition.

BioNTech’s Strategic Priorities and Pipeline Expansion: Advancing Innovation in Oncology and Beyond

At the January 9 conference, BioNTech announced its plans to have 10 or more potentially registrational trials by the end of 2024 and shared guidance on expected full-year revenues of approximately €3 billion. 

During the conference, CEO and Co-Founder Prof. Ugur Sahin, MD, highlighted the company’s progress in expanding its mid- and late-stage oncology pipeline, including ongoing late-stage trials in multiple oncology indications. BioNTech also intends to initiate additional potentially registrational trials and prepare for its first oncology launches expected from 2026 onwards.

Furthermore, BioNTech provided updates on its collaborative cancer vaccine candidate, BNT122 (autogene cevumeran), which is being evaluated in a Phase 2 trial for resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The company plans to share data from this trial and other studies at a medical conference in 2024.

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