Amgen CEO Optimistic About Obesity Drug MariTide’s Progress, Sending Shares Skyrocketing

Shares of Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) significantly increased after the company’s chief executive officer expressed optimism about early results from its experimental obesity drug, MariTide.
During a call with investors, Amgen CEO Robert Bradway stated, “We are very encouraged by the early results from our study of MariTide. We recognize the significant interest in obesity and believe MariTide’s differentiated profile will address important unmet medical needs.”
Amgen’s stock surged by as much as 15% in pre-market trading on Friday, potentially marking its largest gain since July 2009.
The Thousand Oaks, California-based company is positioning itself as a potential competitor to Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) and Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO), which currently dominate the weight-loss market. Strong demand for anti-obesity drugs like Zepbound and Wegovy has led to heightened market expectations, with Bloomberg Intelligence estimating potential annual sales of $80 billion by 2030.
“We see MariTide as having multi-blockbuster potential,” noted William Blair analyst Matt Phipps, who upgraded Amgen stock to outperform following the CEO’s comments.
Following Bradway’s remarks, shares of Novo Nordisk fell by as much as 5.3%, while Lilly dipped 2.1% in pre-market trading. Viking Therapeutics Inc., a company developing an anti-obesity medication, also experienced a decline of up to 6.2%.
Investor excitement around MariTide stems from its less frequent dosing compared to existing treatments from Novo and Lilly. Preliminary studies have shown promising results, with patients receiving monthly injections of MariTide experiencing significant weight loss over a 12-week period.
MariTide differs from other weight-loss drugs as it is an antibody-drug conjugate, combining a gut hormone mimic with an antibody that blocks a receptor involved in regulating appetite. This unique mechanism allows MariTide to remain in the body longer than weekly weight-loss shots.
Amgen is already ramping up production capacity for MariTide and plans to initiate late-stage studies focusing on obesity, obesity-related conditions, and diabetes. The drug is expected to be administered through a handheld autoinjector on a monthly basis.
Amgen’s commitment to MariTide is evident as it discontinues the development of another early-stage drug, AMG 786, in favor of prioritizing MariTide’s advancement.