Novo still cannot meet Wegovy demand
How hard is it to make semaglutide? Pretty hard, apparently. On its fourth-quarter earnings calls today Novo Nordisk admitted that supply constraints were still limiting the amount of the drug, sold as Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for obesity, that it can manufacture. “We are scaling really, really rapidly,” chief executive Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said. “Unfortunately, the demand is getting even faster.” The fact that Novo achieved its goal of fully relaunching Wegovy in the US at the end of last year is, therefore, something of a hollow victory. The group has shortages elsewhere too. Mr Fruergaard Jørgensen said Novo’s rare disease sales would be down by mid single digits in 2023 as it was “running short on supplies of human growth hormone”. A new manufacturing line has not scaled up as fast as the company had hoped, meaning that “Norditropin will be out of stock in a number of markets” in the coming months; scarcity of this product was already a problem. The company denied that HGH production was a casualty of the semaglutide manufacturing push, saying the two products were made at different facilities.