With insulin market set for shake-up, Novo Nordisk expands production plant
- Danish drug company Novo Nordisk will invest nearly $60 million to expand capacity at its insulin production plant in Kalundborg, Denmark.
- With the expansion, Novo plans to install new equipment aimed at improving efficiency and increase production output in the long term.
- Novo, which focuses on diabetes treatments, is battling for market share with competitors such as Sanofi and Eli Lilly.
The nearing patent expiry of Sanofi's market-leading insulin Lantus sets up new opportunities for competing firms like Novo. And with prevalence of diabetes continuing to grow, demand for insulin is likely to remain high.
Novo's expansion of its Kalundborg plant is an investment towards its insulin franchise. The company recorded $9.4 billion in sales of insulin products last year, with another $2.7 billion in revenue from its new GLP-1 drug Victoza.
Recently, an FDA panel unanimously recommended approval of Novo's IDegLira, a once-daily, single-injection, fixed-dose combination of Novo’s basal insulin Tresiba and Victoza. The drug has been marketed in Europe as Xultophy since 2014 and is designed to improve efficacy at lower doses.
But Sanofi is right behind Novo with its own insulin/GLP-1 combination therapy iGlarLixi. The drug won a recommendation from the same FDA panel a day after the positive decision on IDegLira.
Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim are also in the mix for share of the insulin market, recently winning approval for Basaglar, their "follow-on" biologic to Sanofi's Lantus.
According to analysts, the global insulin market is targeted to reach $47 billion, up from $20 billion in 2013.