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GLP-1 drugs emerge as Big Pharma's new growth engine as COVID-19 fades
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GLP-1 drugs emerge as Big Pharma's new growth engine as COVID-19 fades
  • Jaehoon SongㆍHyeokgi Lee, Newsmp
  • 승인 2023.11.17 14:31
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PfizerㆍModerna Q3 revenue plunges by more than 40%
Mounjaro drives Eli Lilly growth of 36.8% in Q3
Novo Nordisk sees 28.9% revenue growth by OzempicㆍWegovy

[Newsmp] With COVID-19 finally behind us, GLP-1-based obesity and diabetes treatments are poised to become the new growth engine for big pharma.

After three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, global Big Pharma is now a drag on growth.

In particular, the revenues of Pfizer and Moderna, which had significantly expanded their growth through vaccines over the past two years, have seen a substantial decline.

Pfizer's rise on the back of COVID-19 vaccines has been abruptly halted, with its revenue plunging by more than 40% this year, returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Despite shrinking its business by selling its Upjohn division (now Viatris), Pfizer rose to the top of the Big Pharma rankings in 2022 by generating over KRW 100 trillion in revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty).

However, as of the third quarter of this year, Pfizer's cumulative revenue of KRW 58 trillion (based on the exchange rate as of November 9) has decreased by 41.8% from the same period of the previous year, making it unlikely that Pfizer will achieve KRW 100 trillion this year. Pfizer's third-quarter revenue of KRW 17.35 trillion also decreased by 41.5% from the same period of the previous year.

Moderna, which quickly became a global Big Pharma with just one product, its COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax), also saw its third-quarter revenue of KRW 2.4 trillion decrease by 45.6% from the same period of the previous year.

Although the rate of decline slowed in the third quarter thanks to the updated vaccine (Spikevax X), Moderna's cumulative revenue for the first nine months of the year still fell by 71.5% from the same period of the previous year, reaching KRW 5.3 trillion.

In contrast to Pfizer and Moderna, which saw their sales plummet amid the decline in COVID-19 cases, Novo Nordisk and Lilly, which have been developing GLP-1-based diabetes and obesity treatments, posted strong growth of around 30% in the third quarter of this year.

In particular, Lilly recorded growth of 36.8%, despite the fact that the indication for Mounjaro, a dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist, was limited to diabetes.

Lilly's total revenue for this period was KRW 12.5 trillion, of which KRW 1.9 trillion was driven by Mounjaro.

As Mounjaro has recently received approval for obesity treatment, its growth is expected to accelerate.

Novo Nordisk, which has dominated the diabetes and obesity treatment markets with its Ozempic and Wegovy, also recorded strong growth of 28.9% in the third quarter.

More than half of Novo Nordisk's third-quarter revenue of KRW 11 trillion was led by these two products.

Of the 18 major global Big Pharma companies, only Lilly and Novo Nordisk recorded growth rates of over 20% in the third quarter.

Not only that, but Lilly and Novo Nordisk were the only ones that experienced a cumulative revenue increase of over 10% in the past nine months. In fact, GLP-1-based diabetes and obesity treatments played a decisive role in this achievement.

Although Novartis did not achieve the same level of growth as Lilly or Novo Nordisk, it still recorded double-digit growth of 12.3% in the third quarter, however, its 9-month revenue growth rate was only 7.5%.

Besides mentioned above, Johnson & Johnson and MSD were the only major pharmaceutical companies to record growth of at least 6% in the third quarter. Growth rates for other companies, such as GSK, Gilead, Roche, Biogen, AstraZeneca, and Amgen, were below 5%. Moderna, Pfizer, BMS, Viatris, Sanofi, AbbVie, and Organon all experienced revenue declines.


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