BioSpace looks at the 10 biggest drug approvals of 2021, headlined by Biogen’s Aduhelm (aducanumab) for Alzheimer’s disease and Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty.

The latest results from SURPASS-4, the longest and largest completed SURPASS trial to date, showed consistent activity in maintaining A1C and weight control in the almost two years the study ran. SURPASS-4 is part of the Phase III trial evaluating tirzepatide as a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes. 

Newly announced topline results from Eli Lilly’s SURPASS-4 trial program show the company’s investigational diabetes agent, tirzepatide, significantly reduced blood glucose levels and body weight better than insulin glargine in adult patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim partnered with Denmark’s Zealand Pharma A/S to study the GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist BI 456906 in two Phase II trials as a potential treatment for adults who are overweight or obese and for adults with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Eli Lilly’s Phase III SURPASS-2 clinical trial shows that treatment with tirzepatide, a once-weekly dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, is associated with superior reductions in body weight and blood sugar compared with injectable semaglutide in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Rhythm Pharmaceuticals’ Imcivree (setmelanotide) for chronic weight management in adult and pediatric patients aged 6 years and older with obesity due to proopiomelanocortin, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 1 or leptin receptor deficiency confirmed by genetic testing.

Cancer deaths in the United States fell 2.2% from 2016 to 2017 – the largest single-year drop ever recorded – fueled in large part by progress against lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk is aiming for a big slice of the multibillion-dollar diabetes market with a new pill approved by U.S. authorities that caters for patients with an aversion to needles.

People who start fasting every other day may lose more weight than they would if they stuck to their usual eating habits, a small study suggests.

Lilly’s diabetes drug Trulicity hit the mark in a late-stage trial showing higher doses of the medication significantly reduced A1C from baseline versus the product’s approved once-weekly usage.