Novo Logs Over 700% Wegovy Sales Growth in Q3, Raises 2023 Outlook

Novo Nordisk_iStock, hapabapa

Pictured: Novo Nordisk office in California/iStock, hapabapa

In its third-quarter financial report posted Thursday, Novo Nordisk revealed that its best-selling weight-loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) made nearly $3.1 billion in revenue in the first nine months of 2023. This represents growth of more than 490%, at constant exchange rates, versus the same period last year.

In the third quarter of 2023, Novo logged net sales of nearly $8.4 billion, an approximately 38% increase at constant exchange rates (CER) from the same period the prior year.

This was driven in large part by the company’s obesity franchise, which made more than $1.7 billon in the third quarter. Wegovy accounted for most of this with nearly $1.38 billion in revenue, representing more than 730% growth from the same period in 2022.

Novo’s other semaglutide product Ozempic, which is indicated for diabetes, continued to be the company’s top asset and likewise contributed heavily to the company’s fiscal performance. In the first nine months for 2023, Ozempic raked in nearly $9.4 billion, an approximately 59% growth from the same period in 2022 at CER.

On the back of the strong sales of Wegovy and Ozempic, Novo has raised its 2023 outlook. The company now expects to record 32% to 38% sales growth at CER, up five percentage points from the previous guidance of 27% to 33%. Novo is also now eyeing operating profit growth of 40% to 46%.

This adjusted guidance already accounts for the “expected continued periodic supply constraints” for Ozempic and Wegovy as well as the “inherent uncertainty” in the pace of the growth of its obesity franchise, Novo CFO Karsten Knudsen said in Thursday’s investor call.

“Novo Nordisk is investing in internal and external capacity to increase supply both short- and long-term,” Knudsen told investors. “While supply capacity for Wegovy is gradually being expanded, the lower-dose strengths in the U.S. will remain restricted to safeguard continuity of care.”

Since its FDA approval in June 2021, Wegovy has struggled to keep up with the market’s strong demand. Novo’s production capacity was squeezed even further in December of the same year, when a third-party service provider ran into manufacturing issues and was forced to stop its deliveries.

Demand for the weight-loss treatment is expected to grow even further in the future, especially as Novo appears to be positioning the drug for a potential label expansion.

Last month, the company announced that it was ending the Phase III FLOW trial ahead of schedule after Wegovy showed strong benefit in kidney outcomes. In August 2023, Wegovy notched another Phase III victory, this time in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and obesity.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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