Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk adding in-house fill-finish capacity for Wegovy’s European pen, Ozempic

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) is ramping up its in-house manufacturing capacity to fill injection pens for its diabetes drug Ozempic and for the European version of its hugely popular weight-loss drug Wegovy, a senior executive told Reuters on Thursday.

The Danish drugmaker, which has overtaken LVMH (LVMH.PA) as Europe’s most valuable listed company, posted record operating profit and sales for the third quarter on Thursday, underscoring the phenomenal success of Wegovy so far.

The company is spending 25 billion Danish krone ($3.56 billion) this year, double last year’s level, to ramp up production of both drugs and meet soaring demand, Chief Financial Officer Karsten Munk Knudsen told Reuters.

Earlier on Thursday, the company’s CEO warned though that shortages would continue for the short to medium term.

Some of the funds are going to expand capacity to fill injection pens – a process known as fill-finish – at some manufacturing sites, Knudsen said. The company does this type of work in Europe, the United States, China and Brazil.

The investment highlights the challenge for Novo as it seeks to expand in Europe and faces competition from U.S. rival Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N) diabetes treatment Mounjaro. That is expected to get approval for weight loss by the end of the year.

Reuters reported in July that quality issues with one of Novo’s contract manufacturers, Catalent (CTLT.N), caused Wegovy shortages in the United States throughout 2022.

Novo has also hired other contract manufacturers – including Thermo Fisher (TMO.N) – to do fill-finish and other production processes. Plans were on track for a third to come online by the end of the year, Knudsen said.

Novo’s internal expansion is for its “more classic platforms”, namely the cartridge devices used for Ozempic and Wegovy in Europe.

Details about in-house capacity expansion have not been previously reported.

The pen for Europe uses the so-called FlexTouch device and contains four doses, instead of one in the U.S. pen.

Some of the spending is to increase Novo’s production of semaglutide, the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for Wegovy, Ozempic and another diabetes drug, Rybelsus at its factories in Kalundborg and in Clayton, North Carolina, said Knudsen.

He declined to comment on when the additional API capacity would come online.

($1 = 7.0233 Danish crowns)

Reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Josephine Mason and Susan Fenton

Source: Reuters