Even as Wegovy rides high, interest surges in weight loss drugs that preserve muscle

Have you ever seen a mouse with a set of muscles more appropriate for a bodybuilder or comic book superhero?

Well, 25 years ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins University made it happen. By silencing a gene responsible for producing a protein called myostatin, they directed tiny mouse bodies to grow double the amount of lean muscle they would normally, leading to mice with bulky arms, defined pectorals, and an overall more substantial body mass. They were dubbed “mighty mice.”


Now, biotech startups are hoping to use those findings to create what they believe will be better weight loss medications. In the last several months, multiple companies have disclosed they are testing drugs that preserve or grow muscle while reducing fat, as shown in the updated STAT Obesity Drug Tracker. They hope that their drugs, possibly when used in conjunction with existing obesity treatments, will result in healthier weight loss.

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