HomeMarket NewsThe Battle of Giants: Novo Nordisk Forges Ahead of Eli Lilly

The Battle of Giants: Novo Nordisk Forges Ahead of Eli Lilly

Actionable Trade Ideas

always free

In the high-stakes world of pharmaceuticals, the weight loss market stands out as the current crown jewel. Demand for cutting-edge diabetes and obesity treatments is skyrocketing, held dominantly in the grip of two industry behemoths: Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO).

At the forefront is Eli Lilly, spearheading with tirzepatide, crowned as Mounjaro in the diabetes realm and Zepbound in the weight loss arena. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk’s star drug semaglutide shines in a trio of hits: fueling the diabetes remedies Ozempic and Rybelsus and propelling the weight-watcher favorite Wegovy.

As these pharmaceutical giants continue their neck-and-neck sprint, Novo Nordisk appears to have leaped forward, creating a distance between itself and its competitor Lilly.

Decoding the Diabetes and Obesity Treatment Landscape

Connecting the dots from Mounjaro to Zepbound, Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy reveals a common thread: all these drugs are glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists.

In a captivating twist, despite their varied therapeutic purposes, semaglutide unifies Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy, just as tirzepatide powers Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Normally, following a breakthrough leading to FDA approval, pharmaceutical firms are often granted expanded label rights to explore the drug’s potential in treating other conditions. This doorway to novel indications can spell substantial profits for drug manufacturers.

FDA approval stamp

Image Source: Getty Images

Anticipating Expanded Horizons

With Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly both delving into additional clinical trials to unveil new prospects for semaglutide and tirzepatide, the spotlight has shifted towards cardiovascular ailment management.

This strategic move is logical, considering the links between diabetes, obesity, and heart health, including risks of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Recently, Novo Nordisk received encouraging news from the FDA, potentially widening the gap between itself and Eli Lilly.

Novo Nordisk’s Recent Triumph

With Wegovy now FDA-approved for addressing life-threatening cardiovascular events in cardiovascular patients, Novo Nordisk has notched a significant victory. Not only did Wegovy secure its expanded indication ahead of Zepbound, but this FDA seal of approval heralds numerous opportunities for the company.

Research from the CDC and WHO underscores heart disease as the globe’s leading cause of mortality. Forecasts hint at the heart disease treatment market surpassing $200 billion annually in the next decade.

Having witnessed a surge in Wegovy demand in 2023 as a weight management tool, the potential of Wegovy in treating heart disease is substantial. Yet, even as we celebrate this milestone, we must look beyond.

Novo Nordisk’s management is grappling with production challenges to meet the soaring demand for its varied medications. In a bid to beef up production, the company recently acquired drug manufacturing subcontractor Catalent for a hefty $16.5 billion. Such bold moves are essential for Novo Nordisk to sustain its growth trajectory. While the Wegovy label expansion is remarkable, achieving critical mass in cardiovascular care may take time due to the ongoing ramp-up in production.

Nonetheless, the FDA’s thumbs-up for Wegovy in cardioprotection represents a significant boost for Novo Nordisk – one that could pave the way for long-term growth, while Eli Lilly plays catch-up.

Should you invest $1,000 in Novo Nordisk right now?

Prior to diving into Novo Nordisk stock, ponder this:

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor crack team believes they’ve uncovered the 10 best stocks for savvy investors right now… and Novo Nordisk didn’t make the list. These 10 stocks are anticipated to deliver stellar returns in the years ahead.

Stock Advisor offers a roadmap to investing success, including counsel on portfolio curation, regular analyst updates, and two fresh stock picks each month. The Stock Advisor service has outperformed the S&P 500 by over threefold since 2002*.

Check out the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of March 18, 2024

Adam Spatacco has stakes in Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. The Motley Fool recommends Novo Nordisk. The Motley Fool maintains a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein reflect those of the author and may not align with those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Swing Trading Ideas and Market Commentary

Need some new swing ideas? Get free weekly swing ideas and market commentary from Jonathan Bernstein here: Swing Trading.

Explore More

Weekly In-Depth Market Analysis and Actionable Trade Ideas

Get institutional-level analysis and trade ideas to take your trading to the next level, sign up for free and become apart of the community.