Novo Nordisk invests US$743M to expand clinical manufacturing facilities

DENMARK — Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is set to invest 5.4 billion Danish kroner (US$743.6 million) in expanding its facilities in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, which will include construction of a new plant.

The company said the investment will establish additional capacity in research and development for manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients to supply its global clinical trials.

This investment in expanding our clinical API capacity in Bagsvaerd is an important step to ensure the continuous progress of our development pipeline,” said Jesper Boving, senior vice president of chemistry, manufacturing, and controls development at Novo Nordisk.

Increasing our API capacity in R&D will be a key enabler in bringing new innovations to the market.

The world’s biggest producer of diabetes drugs, Novo said the investment project is expected to be finalized in 2024 and will create around 160 new jobs.

The investment would increase capacity in R&D for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), the main biologically active components of medicines, to supply its global clinical trials.

Earlier this month, the company raised its full-year earnings forecast after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit driven by strong sales of its diabetes treatment Ozempic.

The success of Novo’s GLP-1 franchise comes from the impressive efficacy and once-weekly administration of its novel injectable therapies Wegovy and Ozempic, and the historically strong performance of Saxenda (liraglutide), which was the first GLP-1 therapy for obesity.

Analysts speculate that prescriptions for non-diabetic patients looking to lose weight, which is outside the drug’s approved indication, are driving Ozempic demand.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, is also the active ingredient in Novo’s obesity drug Wegovy.

The drugs are part of a class of medications known as GLP-1 analogues, which are used to control hunger.

Wegovy received FDA approval as a weight-loss therapy last year, but the drug was quickly out of stock due to manufacturing issues and high demand.

Following the botched introduction of Wegovy, the company stated earlier this month that it is prioritizing increasing manufacturing capacity for future obesity drug launches.

One of its major drug development prospects is CagriSema, or cagrilintide plus semaglutide, a two-drug combination to meet future demand for better weight-loss options.

Novo is expected to face stiff competition in that market, as rival Eli Lilly works to get its Mounjaro drug approved for obesity.

Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk and Abbott partner to enhance diabetes support. A partnership between Novo Nordisk and Abbott means people living with diabetes can now better review their glucose patterns to help manage the condition.

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