Aug 10, 2023 - Economy & Business

Ozempic maker bolsters weight loss portfolio with $1 billion deal

Illustration of a measuring tape around a pill bottle.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has agreed to buy Inversago Pharma, a Montreal-based developer of anti-obesity drugs, for upwards of $1.1 billion in cash.

Why it matters: Novo isn't content to rest on its weight loss laurels, despite the popularity of its Ozempic and Wegovy products.

  • Inversago uses a different technique than do Novo's existing blockbusters, by instead targeting CB1 receptors.
  • Its lead candidate has focused on diabetic kidney disease, but Novo's announcement highlights the obesity potential.

More, per FierceBiotech: "Sanofi won approval for a CB1 receptor blocker weight loss drug in Europe in 2006. However, European authorities withdrew the approval in 2009 after studies linked the drug to a doubling of the risk of psychiatric disorders. The product never won approval in the U.S. Since then, scientists have continued to study the potential to treat obesity by blocking the cannabinoid receptor."

ROI: Inversago has raised around $110 million in venture capital funding since 2018 from firms like NEA, Amgen Ventures, Forbion, T1D Capital, AmorChem, Genesys Capital, adMare BioInnovations and Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

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