Novo Nordisk becomes Europe’s most valuable company


A widely sought-after weight loss treatment has aided pharma company Novo Nordisk to achieve stratospheric success by surpassing the market value of the entire Danish economy. 

With its latest expansion of the drug into the U.K., Novo now has become Europe’s most valuable company, dethroning French luxury brand LVMH, which has held the title since 2021

The Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based company launched its “miracle” weight loss drug Wegovy in the U.K. on Monday, propelling its shares to a record-high. By the end of the trading day, Novo had cemented its position ahead of LVMH with a market capitalization of $428 billion, compared to the luxury conglomerate’s $419 billion. 

The pharma giant briefly passed LVMH in market cap on Friday, but slipped lower by the end of the trading day. 

Wegovy’s release was highly anticipated in the U.K., where obesity rates are the highest in Europe. Britain will be the drug’s fifth market, and follows a £40 million ($50 million) government-sanctioned pilot program that kicked off in June. 

At the time, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that obesity was a “huge pressure on the NHS” and that Wegovy could be a “game-changer.”

Novo’s growth

The Danish pharma giant is a familiar name when it comes to diabetes treatment, as the company makes close to 50% of the world’s insulin. But it catapulted to fame when Ozempic and Wegovy became widely talked about on social media. It also helped that among the company’s A-list users was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted about using Wegovy to look “ripped.” 

Novo’s blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active chemical, which reduces blood sugar and helps curb appetite, leading to weight loss. A recent study published by the company found that Wegovy also cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by 20%, adding to the success of the drug. 

Since the end of 2020, the company’s stock has more than tripled as the company expands its footprint around the world, beating other European majors like Nestle along the way. 

The company said in August that its drugs catering to weight loss and diabetes had helped 39 million people globally in just the first half of 2023. For the same period, the sale of obesity care treatments sky-rocketed 157%, the company reported last month

“We are serving more patients than ever before,” Novo CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said in a statement following the earnings release. The company raised its full-year sales and earnings target amid booming demand.

Supply crunch clashes with expansion

The drug will be available by prescription via NHS as well as in the private market for around a fifth of the prices that Wegovy sells for in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. Britain prices the drug at between £199 ($251) and £299 ($377) a month, while America’s prices are higher than any other market at over $1,300 a month.  

Although Wegovy’s Britain release is being done in a “limited and controlled manner,” the deluge in seekers for the buzzy weight loss drug clashes with the company’s supply shortage

Due to pent-up demand, the number of patients for the weight loss drug is expected to soar in the U.K. Novo has already implemented supply restrictions on some doses of the drug, and said it expects constraints to remain in a “number of products and geographies” during its Q2 earnings call last month.  

The NHS told Fortune  that it has enough supply to prescribe 50,000 patients in England. 

“Despite global supply constraints, NHS England is taking action to begin implementing NICE [National Institude of Health and Care Excellence] guidance for weight management, while at the same time working to restore supplies of this class of drug for people with type 2 diabetes,” an NHS spokesperson said in a statement.

Private retailers, like Superdrug, already have a 20,000 person-long wait-list for Wegovy.    

Novo didn’t immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.