Wegovy’s Chronic Condition: 3 Potential Drugs to Dethrone Novo Nordisk’s Blockbuster Obesity Drug

Novo Nordisk‘s (NYSE: NVO) Wegovy now reigns as the king of the obesity drug market. It generated sales of about 4.5 billion last year and is likely to increase by 2024.

But notice the use of the word “now.” Wegovy’s market position is bad. Here are three drugs that could topple Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster drug.

1. Eli Lilly’s Zepbound

Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) won US regulatory approval for Zepbound to help patients lose weight in November 2023. In the first quarter of 2024, Lilly’s obesity drug sales exceeded $517 million.

There is more to the story. Zepbound and Mounjaro are different brand names for the same drug, tirzepatide. Lilly markets Mounjaro in the US as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In Europe, however, the pharma giant markets Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes and weight loss.

Zepbound/Mounjaro works differently than Wegovy to help people lose weight. Clinical studies of these two drugs suggest that Zepbound / Mounjaro can achieve significant weight loss. This success advantage could enable Lilly’s weight loss drug to steal the No. 1 market position. 1 from Wegovy in the not too distant future.

2. Novo Nordisk’s CagriSema

Although Zepbound/Mounjaro is breathing down Wegovy’s neck, there is good news for Novo Nordisk. The Danish drugmaker has a successor in the works that could help it take on Eli Lilly.

Novo Nordisk is evaluating CagriSema in recent clinical studies targeting obesity and type 2 diabetes. CagriSema combines cagrilintide (“Cagri” in the name) and semaglutide (“Sema” in the name, sold under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy). Phase 3 studies for experimental drugs end next year, while others are slated to finish in 2026.

Earlier clinical studies of CagriSema found that it helped patients achieve greater weight loss than semaglutide (Wegovy) did. Even with Lilly’s Zepbound / Mounjaro undercutting Wegovy, it is possible that CagriSema could enter the market at the right time for Novo Nordisk to maintain its overall leadership in the obesity drug market.

3. Eli Lilly’s Orforglipron

However, at least one treatment could give Eli Lilly an advantage over Novo Nordisk. Lilly has another promising obesity drug in recent trials: orforglipron.

Wegovy and Zepbound are weekly injections, but orforglipron is a once-daily pill. This simple fact could help Lilly shake up the obesity drug market even more. However, it should be noted that Novo Nordisk is evaluating the oral version of Wegovy in a recent clinical trial.

Lilly expects its phase 3 studies of orforglipron to be completed next year. That could set the stage for the drug’s commercial launch in 2026 if all goes well.

Others are close

I think Zepbound/Mounjaro, CagriSema, and orforglipron pose the biggest threats to Wegovy. However, other drugs that promise weight loss are also nearby.

Lilly is testing retatrutide in phase 3 studies. Like Zepbound, retatrutide is administered by injection. However, it can achieve greater weight loss than Zepbound.

Lilly and Novo Nordisk have other experimental obesity drugs in phase 2 trials. So do smaller drugmakers, including Altimmune, Nature of Therapeuticsand Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX).

The best games for investors

All the stocks mentioned are potential winners. Two of them, however, stand out to me as the best bets.

For conservative investors, I think Eli Lilly is a good choice. The stock price may seem unreasonably high with its forward earnings of over 63. However, Lilly has great growth prospects, not all of which is due to its drugs. thickness.

If you’re an aggressive investor, you might like Viking Therapeutics. The company is still young, with a net worth of about $6 billion. Its experimental obesity drug VK2735 looked positive in phase 2 testing. Viking also has a promising phase 2 candidate targeting nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Success in recent studies for these programs could help Viking stock rise in the coming years.

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Keith Speights has no position in any of the products mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Novo Nordisk. The Motley Fool has a publicity strategy.

Wegovy’s Precarious Position: 3 Drugs That May Dethrone Novo Nordisk’s Blockbuster Obesity Drug was originally published by The Motley Fool.

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