This Leading Healthcare Company’s New Obesity Treatment Has Great Potential

Obesity amongst U.S. adults has grown from 15% of the inhabitants in 1990 to 40% now. And of the 35% of youngsters thought-about obese within the U.S., 19% are overweight. Drugs available on the market similar to Saxenda, from Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), assist with weight administration for the overweight, and the corporate has devoted efforts to enhancing on the 5% common weight reduction amongst those that have used the drug.

Those efforts might repay very quickly for sufferers and traders alike. A once-weekly injectable remedy that may enhance the quantity of weight reduction by thrice that of Saxenda is now accessible. 

Image supply: Getty Images.

Huge takeaways

On June 4, Novo acquired FDA approval for its new, and probably game-changing, weight reduction administration drug. Wegovy is a first-of-its-kind, once-weekly injectable used for persistent weight administration in overweight adults, supposed for use along side eating regimen and train.

In profitable scientific trials, Wegovy proved to extend the quantity of weight reduction to triple that of Saxenda, leading to 17% to 18% weight reduction over a 68-week interval. Some sufferers misplaced upwards of 20% of their weight. 

The firm is losing no time in launching the product, both. Upon approval, Novo introduced the debut of Wegovy on June 10 and was anticipated to turn out to be accessible on pharmacy cabinets as quickly as June 18, marking a surprising two-week turnaround from product approval to availability.

Novo executives met the success of scientific trials and ensuing approval with nice pleasure. Martin Holst Lange, government vp of growth, proclaimed “a brand new period within the remedy of weight problems,” and Camilla Sylvest, head of economic technique and company affairs, famous that this was the quickest Novo launch ever following approval.

As the main weight-loss drug available on the market, Saxenda generated $920 million final yr for Novo, at a listing value of between $1,300 and $1,600 monthly per prescription. The firm expects Wegovy to have an identical record value, and it is trying to double its weight problems drug gross sales by 2025 based mostly on 2019 numbers.

To drive gross sales and enhance market share, the corporate is trying to work with physicians to additional tackle weight problems as a persistent illness that requires treatment somewhat than one being handled primarily by eating regimen and train, with much less emphasis on prescriptions. The firm can also be anticipated to deal with sufferers instantly, although it hasn’t but shared what that course of would appear to be.

Facing obstacles

Novo might face two obstacles on the best way to rising income by way of its weight-loss medication. The first is with insurance coverage protection. Neither personal nor public insurers are inclined to cowl weight-loss medication as a result of weight problems is seen extra as a way of life final result than a persistent illness. Thus, some sufferers who may benefit from the medication won’t ever get them. To offset this impediment, the corporate plans to supply a $25 copay card for sufferers who’ve insurance coverage carriers that cowl medicines geared toward preventing weight problems.

The second battle will probably be inner, as Novo will in all probability see some overlap between Wegovy with Saxenda. The firm intends to deal with that situation by specializing in offering Wegovy to new sufferers, whereas suggesting that sufferers already utilizing Saxenda keep that course for now.

Although Novo does present a single-dose supply system together with the treatment, the corporate is planning for a extra handy method of dosing later this yr. Its purpose is to kick off new trials to evaluate the protection and efficacy of an oral 50 mg dosage for sufferers, somewhat than requiting an injection.

The outlook

According to Novo and well being specialists, together with the Mayo Clinic, weight problems is proven to trigger or worsen greater than 60 well being circumstances, together with Type 2 diabetes — a major focus for Novo Nordisk — coronary heart illness, and despair. The excellent news for Novo is that weight problems is acknowledged as a persistent illness amongst main well being organizations, together with the American Medical Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over time, this angle might present a catalyst for extra protection amongst insurance coverage payers, main extra sufferers and physicians to look towards Wegovy as an answer. 

In an weight problems market the place Novo owns a 60% world share and 80% in North America, the long run bodes effectively for this pharmceutical. The weight problems market is projected develop by 15% yearly by way of 2026, leading to an estimated worth of $4.2 billion. These elements, mixed with an anticipated post-COVID-19 rebound in affected person visits to medical doctors, and a product that provides the potential for weight problems sufferers to triple their weight reduction, ought to arrange Novo Nordisk, its sufferers, and traders properly for the long run.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who might disagree with the “official” advice place of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one in every of our personal — helps us all suppose critically about investing and make selections that assist us turn out to be smarter, happier, and richer.

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