April 15, 2024

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruegaard Jørgensen

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen.

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said Friday that the company’s experimental weight loss pill, Amycretin, “could develop into a best-in-class medicine.” His comments on CNBC came a day after the company’s stock surged following the announcement of promising results for the drug. That sent Novo Nordisk’s market cap past Tesla’s and made it the 12th-most valuable company in the world.

The drug maker told investors on Thursday that Amycretin helped users lose an average of 13% of body weight after 12 weeks in an early-stage trial. By comparison, patients on the diabetes weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, both of which are injections, lose about 6% of their weight in 12 weeks.

Jørgensen told CNBC on Friday that the he doesn’t expect Amycretin to completely replace Wegovy in the market.

“We believe in the future, there will be different segments of anti-obesity treatments, different patients having different preferences,” Jørgensen said. “Some will prefer an injectable. And we really believe that a once-weekly injectable is a very convenient offering.”

It will take Novo Nordisk years to meet full demand for weight loss drugs

Jørgensen also said the gap between demand for weight loss drugs and the supply is significant and could take the industry years to close.

He pointed out that there are more 100 million people with obesity in the U.S. alone. Novo Nordisk currently only serves a small population of that group, about 1 million.

“It’ll take quite some years before the industry has scaled up supplies to be able to meet this very strong demand,” Jørgensen said.

Novo Nordisk announced in February that it has bought three facilities from the drug manufacturing company Catalent for $11 billion in an effort to address a shortage of Wegovy. As part of the transaction, the company’s largest shareholder Novo Holdings agreed to acquire Catalent. Novo Nordisk said in a statement that the acquisition will increase the company’s production capacity from 2026 and onwards.

Since May 2023, Novo Nordisk has been limiting starter doses of Wegovy to ensure there is enough supply for patients already on the drug.

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