Shares of Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk soared to a record high on Tuesday after the results of a study showed that its treatment for obesity reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%.
Preliminary results of the study show that patients taking the drug Wegovy (semaglutide) – prescribed for weight loss – are 20% less likely to suffer from a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, said the laboratory in a press release published on its site.
The study was conducted on 17,604 45-year-old adults who were either overweight or obese. They received the drug or a placebo over a period of five years. “We are very satisfied with the results”, praised Martin Holst Lange, CEO in charge of development at Novo Nordisk – world number one in insulin. On the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, the title ended up 17%.
“Although the results of the study (…) have yet to be confirmed by careful peer review, they demonstrate the urgent need to offer patients suffering from obesity this effective and safe drug in order to prevent future diseases”underlined Simon Cork, physician and lecturer in physiology at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom.
A benefit for patients, healthcare systems… and the laboratory
He recalls that obesity and its consequences on health cost the British public health system “more than 6 billion pounds a year”. “This will not only allow health organizations to achieve significant financial savings, but also the people concerned to benefit from a better quality of life”he said.
Danish company Novo Nordisk, which produces both Wegovy and Ozempic – another diabetes treatment – reported in May a 39% rise in net profit in the first quarter compared to the same period. in 2022, generated by the sale of obesity treatments.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
Many anti-obesity treatments on the market
In mid-July, the European Medicines Agency, based in Amsterdam, announced that it was examining “data on the risks of suicidal thoughts and self-harm with drugs (…), including Ozempic (semaglutide), Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide)“. Novo Nordisk expects to file an application for authorization this year to extend the Wegovy indication in the United States and the European Union, according to the press release.
Detailed results of the trial will be presented at a scientific conference later in 2023. Competition for obesity treatments is fierce in the pharmaceutical industry: more than a billion people worldwide are obese, according to the World Health Organization.