Investment Idea

Lose weight in no time - diet pills from Novo Nordisk

Vontobel Markets
03/07/2023 | 3 min read

After the weight-loss injections "Ozempic" and "Wegovy", the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk now wants to bring active substances in tablet form to the market.

The target group for this new drug is primarily overweight or obese patients who are confronted with health problems due to their body weight. According to the studies conducted so far, taking the tablets over a period of 68 weeks resulted in a weight reduction of more than 15 percent in the test persons.

From old to new

In spring 2018, the drug Ozempic was first introduced to the US market. The original purpose of this drug from the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk was to treat adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. It was to be used in particular as part of an ongoing diet and during physical activity. The main active ingredient of the drug is called semaglutide and enables better control of the blood sugar level. In addition, there is another effect that semaglutide brings with it. It increases the feeling of satiety and reduces appetite. With Wegovy, Novo Nordisk launched another semaglutide injection in 2021, which differs from its predecessor in that it contains a higher concentration of active ingredient. Unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is not intended for diabetics, but generally for overweight or obese people as an aid to losing weight.

However, since it is possible to achieve faster weight loss results with the two medicines even in people of normal weight, a real hype arose around these products. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and even Elon Musk are convinced of Novo Nordisk's products. In October 2022, the latter called Wegovy the secret of his weight loss. The use of the medicines contrary to the use stated on the label, so-called. "Off-label use", however, did not remain without consequences. Demand was so great in the meantime that there were supply bottlenecks. As a result, diabetes patients had difficulties obtaining Ozempic syringes. However, this problem has been solved in the meantime.

Novo Nordisk recently introduced a new product from this range, which is expected to be approved in the USA this year. The new drug, similar to Wegovy, is intended to help overweight people lose weight. This time, however, it is not an injection but a tablet. By making it easier to take, it is hoped that this will open up new patient groups. But it could also significantly increase the number of "off-label users". In any case, the diet pill market could prove to be quite lucrative for the Danish pharmaceutical company. Competitors Pfizer and Eli Lilly also recognize this potential opportunity. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla predicts a sales potential of up to 90 billion euros, which is why his company is also working on such a drug. Eli Lilly seems to be a little more advanced in the development of a diet tablet. A study by the company on the active ingredient Orfogliprone led to a weight reduction of almost 15 percent in the test persons over a period of 36 weeks. This makes it clear that Novo Nordisk will have to hold its own against the American competition in the future in order to be successful in the long term. Patient demand for such products could increase in the future. According to estimates, around 14.2 percent of all adults worldwide currently suffer from obesity. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 20 per cent.

The pharmaceutical giant from Denmark

Novo Nordisk is one of the most valuable companies in the world in terms of market capitalization. The company achieved this primarily through its strong position in the diabetes medication market. According to its own statement, the company covers 50 per cent of the world's insulin demand. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that 88 percent of the turnover in the past business year came from the division "Diabetes and Obesity care". Compared to previous years, Novo Nordisk was able to further increase sales and profits in 2022. In its latest quarterly report, published at the beginning of May, the company also reported a 25 per cent increase in sales compared to the same period last year. Whether this positive trend will continue or even be strengthened with the help of the new diet pill remains to be seen.



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