THERE’S A MAJOR downside to semaglutide, the drug originally developed for diabetes and now prescribed for weight loss under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy: People often stop taking their medication. But what if the drug only needed to be given once to have lasting benefits?
That’s the idea behind Fractyl Health’s treatment for type 2 diabetes—which could also be used for weight control. The Lexington, Massachusetts-based biotech company is in the early stages of developing a one-time gene therapy intended to lower blood sugar and body weight using the same mechanism as semaglutide. “You have this problem where you need to stay on therapy for efficacy,” says Harith Rajagopalan, a cardiologist by training and CEO and cofounder of Fractyl Health. “That’s the Achilles heel.”