Jan 31, 2024 - Health

Ozempic maker now worth more than $500 billion

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Surging demand for blockbuster anti-obesity drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy lifted Novo Nordisk's market value past $500 billion on Wednesday, cementing the Danish drugmaker's status as Europe's biggest company by market cap.

Why it matters: The company's value is more than $100 billion above Denmark's entire GDP, and the GLP-1 drugs could help its sales grow as much as 26% this year.

Driving the news: Novo beat earnings estimates on Wednesday, posting a net profit of 83.7 billion Danish kroner, or roughly $12 billion, for 2023. That's up about 51% over year-earlier results.

  • There's been an explosion in demand for the drugs to treat diabetes and obesity, and Novo commands a 55% global market share of the market through Ozempic and Wegovy, which share a common ingredient.

By the numbers: In its year-end earnings report, the company's said its GLP-1 diabetes sales rose 52%. Obesity care sales grew by 154% in 2023, mainly via sales in the U.S.

  • Ozempic sales topped 95.7 billion in Danish kroner, or about $13.9 billion. About 66% of those sales came from the U.S.
  • Wegovy sales were more than 31.3 billion Danish kroner, or roughly $4.5 billion. More than 90% of Wegovy's sales came from the U.S.

What to watch: The company said Wednesday it more than doubled supplies of the starter dose of Wegovy in the United States, to address shortages.

  • "We'll gradually scale that as we are scaling our supply capacity so we have a sustainable supply chain in place, including the necessary inventories to avoid the stop-go pattern that we saw in the past," company CFO Karsten Munk Knudsen said during a call with analysts.

Of note: Novo is among the drug companies suing the Biden administration to scuttle Medicare drug price negotiations under the Inflation Reduction Act, saying they amount to unconstitutional government price controls.

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