Wegovy-maker Novo Nordisk raises outlook as sales of its weight-loss drug soar

A selection of injector pens for the Saxenda weight loss drug are shown in this photo illustration in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 31, 2023. 

Jim Vondruska | Reuters

Novo Nordisk, which makes the weight-loss drug Wegovy, raised its outlook for 2023 Thursday, as it reported soaring sales.

The Danish pharmaceutical company reported a 30% increase in sales, at constant exchange rates, for the first half of this year to 107.7 million Danish kroner ($15.9 million). Net profit increased 43%, coming in at 39.2 million kroner.

The company’s diabetes and obesity division performed particularly well, bolstered by interest in its blockbuster injection Wegovy.

“The [sales] growth is driven by increasing demand for our GLP-1-based diabetes and obesity treatments, and we are serving more patients than ever before,” Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The performance in the first six months has enabled us to raise the outlook for the full year.”

For 2023, the company now anticipates sales growth of 27%-33% and operating profit growth of 31%-37%, at constant exchange rates.

Last week, late-stage trial data showed that Wegovy reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes by 20%, compared with a placebo, sending shares higher.

The results of the closely watched “SELECT” trial, which exceeded expectations, were seen as a major boost for the company’s hopes of moving beyond Wegovy’s image as a “vanity drug.”

The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide, an FDA-approved drug that works by imitating a naturally-occurring gut hormone that helps to regulate appetite.

Shares are up almost 1% in pre-market trading.

Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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