Novo Nordisk posts strong LPG-1 sales amid supply recovery, but warns of future “periodic caps”

Novo Nordisk posts strong LPG-1 sales amid supply recovery, but warns of future "periodic caps"

With Novo Nordisk’s obesity treatment, Wegovy, fully available again in December, sales are starting to soar, the Danish drugmaker reported during its annual earnings call on Wednesday. Wegovy’s total glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) scripts surpassed 37,000 weekly in mid-January, a hockey stick increase from year-end levels of below 15,000 per week .

The new prescriptions add to Novo’s overall obesity drug sales momentum in 2022, though Wegovy, then in limited supply, was only part of that. Sibling obesity drug Saxenda accounted for DKK 10.7 billion ($1.58 billion) of the total DKK 16.9 billion ($2.49 billion), or about 63%, in reported sales of the obesity segment of New Nordisk.

And the future of obesity looks even brighter.

“We know for sure that there is a pent-up demand,” CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said. “It’s really up to us to size it up, to be honest. We are obviously impressed by the trend line that we see, but we also believe that there will be a normalization of that.”

Novo has forecast sales growth of between 13% and 19% with a “large part” of that attributed to Wegovy, chief financial officer Karsten Munk Knudsen said.

The executives were careful to note that while supplies of LPG-1 have returned, they still expect “periodic supply restrictions” in the coming year.

For the full year 2022, Novo Nordisk reported total sales of DKK 177 billion (about $26 billion), representing an increase of 16% over 2021.

Diabetes drugs made up the majority of Novo Nordisk’s revenue, with GLP-1s leading sales growth.

Sales of type 2 diabetes drugs GLP-1, the trio of Ozempic, Victoza and Rybelsus, jumped 57% to DKK 26.2 billion ($3.87 billion) in 2022. GLP-1’s big profits helped offset a cascade of losses in other insulin sales categories, including long-acting insulin (down 1%), premixed insulin (down 9%), and human insulin (down 18%) to give to health care revenue diabetes from Novo Nordisk an increase of 10% and total global sales of DKK 139.5 billion ($20.58 billion) .

Novo Nordisk said it now has a US market share of 50.3% of total GLP-1 prescriptions in both obesity and diabetes in the latest January data.

Camila Silvestre

A potential bright spot in Novo’s insulin portfolio is its insulin icodec, a candidate for diabetes once a week. It plans to apply for US, Canadian and EU approval in the first half of this year, and as chief business strategist Camilla Sylvest said, Novo sees the drug as a potential standard of care for patients with type 2 diabetes. newly diagnosed as a new comfortable and environmentally friendly way to manage insulin.

Meanwhile, Novo’s forecast for Wegovy is DKK25 billion ($3.69 billion) by 2025, but at least one analyst questioned whether that might be conservative.

Citigroup analyst Peter Verdult did some rough math, noting that with Wegovy approaching 40,000 weekly scripts, that would mean sales of around $2 billion for the year. As for what might be possible by 2023, he asked if that “pent-up demand” and Wegovy’s active promotion could push sales into the $3 billion to $4 billion range.

Karsten Munk Knudsen

Knudsen recalled Novo’s estimated 13% to 19% growth and the fact that much of that comes from Wegovy.

“That 19% is not a magic ceiling in terms of our guidance, it’s basically a function of products, geographies and time,” he said, adding that Novo is scaling manufacturing with a line to be added in the first half. and another in the middle. second half

He also warned: “We don’t have unlimited capacity, so it’s impossible to trade with TRx vertical capture. That’s why we’ve been saying to be careful with the early data points because they are affected by the pent-up demand that Doug (Langa, president and COO of North America) was talking about.

The elephant in the room, however, was the ongoing question about the off-label use of GLP-1 for weight loss as a source of growth. While questioned by various members of the media and financial analysts about market dynamics and reports of Type 2-approved GLP-1 runs being prescribed off-label, Novo Nordisk executives deviated from an official link between the two. They acknowledged the scarcity and breakneck usage, but mostly referred to it more simply as “demand.”

Jørgensen responded to a query about media reports of unauthorized use of GLP-1 Type 2 by noting that Novo Nordisk has a very clear focus on exactly what Ozempic and Wegovy are approved and used for.

“We have a big focus on establishing two different segments with different products and different business tactics,” he said.

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