- After a nearly flat third quarter, Novo Nordisk A/S plans a commercial restructuring that the Danish drugmaker says will help it "withstand market challenges."
- The company intends to cut 185 roles within the commercial organization, but will add another 70 positions at the same time.
- "After the changes are implemented, we expect to have roughly the same number of employees or actual people working at NNI as we do today," said the company in a statement to BioPharma Dive, indicating many of the positions being eliminated are already unfilled.
The last few years have been a tough stretch for diabetes drugmakers. While Novo Nordisk was once one of the most successful companies in the space, competition within the diabetes market has heightened pricing pressures and has put commercial constraints on the company, as well as its rivals.
The patent expiry of Sanofi SA's market leading insulin Lantus (glargine), for example, has allowed other companies to take share, including Novo.
The Danish company's insulins have long been a bright spot for the company, but sales of modern insulins like Levemir (detemir) have seen substantial declines. In their place, next-generation products such as Tresiba (degludec) have taken up the torch.
Still, the company as a whole has suffered from a market-wide tightening for diabetes products.
Novo faces increased competition to its market-leading glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 antagonist Victoza (liraglutide). And while its once-weekly GLP-1 semaglutide is pending approval in the U.S. and Europe, the drug will enter an already crowded space.
Novo didn't elaborate on where it will make changes to its commercial organization, but the latest restructuring follows a 1,000-person cut to staff at the end of last year. At the time, management said the layoffs were part of an effort to lower costs to balance with income, as well as prioritize key product launches.
Gaining a commercial edge in diabetes has increasingly relied on companies' ability to negotiate contracts with payers and third-party benefit managers. Competitor Eli Lilly & Co. has shown it's particularly adept at working with payers, and has gained more preferred positions on formularies for its products than most of its competitors in the diabetes market.
That competitive positioning, though, has come at the cost of steep discounts, underscoring how even the best-performing diabetes drugmaker is still feeling the pinch.