How Novo Nordisk plans to keep its eyes on the diabetes prize
- According to Novo's deputy chief executive, Kaare Schultz, diabetes will most likely account for 80% to 90% of sales in the next 10 years, up from 79% currently.
- Novo Nordisk is the world's number one insulin maker.
- In addition to diabetes drugs, Novo also makes hemophilia drugs and had also been focusing on developing anti-inflammatory drugs. However, it has since ditched its anti-inflammatories R&D.
Novo has a strong diabetes franchise, which includes not only its standard insulin drugs, but also Victoza (liraglutide for injection), a GLP-1 drug, which stimulates the release of insulin. Victoza has continued to be a blockbuster drug and now that Novo has reformulated it as Saxenda for treatment of obesity, the company is looking for another $1 billion in sales within a relatively short period of time. In fact, Novo is deploying 500 sales reps—roughly 1/6 of its entire sales force—to deliver the Saxenda message.
Beyond that, Novo is still dealing with regulatory issues related to Tresiba, its ultra long-lasting insulin, while it continues to aggressively develop additional GLP-1 drugs, including a GLP-1 pill. And the company is continuing its insulin-centric focus as Novo's researchers work on an insulin pill that could be a major game-changer if it comes to fruition.
All told, the key word here is "focus." Novo has sloughed off its anti-inflammatory research department and reallocated all of those resources right back into diabetes.