Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have posted the largest year-on-year revenue growth by sales among the pharmaceutical industry’s top 20 companies in Q2 2023.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) drugs have provided significant increases in revenue growth not observed in their competitors in the Q2 period. Novo’s glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist (GLP-1) Ozempic (semaglutide), which is prescribed for T2D and often prescribed off-label for obesity, has reported revenue of $3.2 billion, increased from $2.1 billion in 2022. Novo’s obesity treatments, Wegovy and Saxenda, have tripled their combined sales to $1.6 billion.

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This year-on-year increase for Novo is highly significant, although Novo has reported that it anticipates a continued struggle to meet the demand for the therapy into 2024 as a result of continued manufacturing challenges affecting Wegovy production and limiting supplies. Lilly has not experienced supply chain issues and its dual agonist GLP-1/GIP (gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor), which was approved for the treatment of T2D during Q2 2022, provided the company with $980 million of sales in Q2 2023. This was a 72% increase compared to the Q1 2023 sales ($536 million), demonstrating significant growth potential for the drug and its likelihood of dominating the GLP-1 market across the T2D and obesity space in the next decade. Lilly has also gained the industry’s leading place in market cap at more than $500 billion, overtaking Johnson & Johnson at $452 billion, and Novo has surged to third place in the pharma market cap rankings with $411 billion.

Recent results fuel investor confidence

Novo will face significant demand to resolve its Wegovy supply chain issues, with demand continually outstripping supply and investor confidence in the drug further fuelled by recent results demonstrating a reduced risk of major cardiovascular events and stroke. This data on cardiovascular benefits is undoubtedly positive for increased growth in Wegovy’s market share and improved outcomes for patients with obesity, who often have comorbidities such as T2D and heart disease.

Lilly’s Mounjaro therapy is being trialled for cardiovascular risk factors and for the treatment of diastolic heart failure, driving up growth projections for the therapy by broadening the market of patients able to receive the therapy. These weight loss therapies will be able to treat more complex cardiometabolic disorders and are expected to continue their trajectories toward becoming blockbuster drugs at under $10 billion in annual sales in the coming decade.

Lilly’s therapy is at an earlier stage in its journey into the market than Wegovy and Ozempic, and as its share grows it is likely to meet significant head-to-head competition with Novo’s two leading semaglutide-based therapies. As further approvals for other cardiometabolic disorders are achieved, it is likely that physicians will increasingly take up these therapies as patients develop the complex comorbidities that T2D and obesity tend to bring, enabling an efficacious treatment that treats multiple disorders simultaneously. GlobalData predicts that the market cap for both Lilly and Novo will continue to grow in line with the increasing growth projections of Lilly’s Mounjaro and Novo’s Wegovy and Ozempic, and that they will become three of the leading therapies in the cardiometabolic space.