JPM24: Catalent poised to pounce on GLP-1 manufacturing opportunity, CEO says

When it comes to GLP-1 drugs, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are the first pharmaceutical companies that come to mind. But behind the scenes, contract manufacturer Catalent stands in a solid spot to reap the benefits of the market's rapid expansion, CEO Alessandro Maselli said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

The manufacturer has been in the GLP-1 game since 2017, Maselli said in a presentation (PDF) at the conference, making it a “top-positioned CDMO” to support the booming market.

This year, the manufacturer expects to pick up less than $100 million from producing GLP-1 products. Once it completes expansions that are already planned through 2026, Catalent stands to bring in more than $500 million from the field, according to the company's presentation.

Beyond that, Catalent figures GLP-1 manufacturing revenue should rise substantially after 2030, once new capacity additions come online.

To put the growth into context, the global market for GLP-1 meds currently stands at around $6 billion but is expected to balloon to some $100 billion by 2030, Catalent said. Last year, Novo’s diabetes med Ozempic delivered a sales boost of 50%, while its sales for obesity offering Wegovy surged by 500%, CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said at the conference.

With spikes like that, GLP-1 drugmakers have struggled to meet demand at times. After a manufacturing expansion spree over the past two years, Novo is looking to build out capacity even more in 2024. Specifically, the company plans to add “significant additional volumes” for Wegovy over the next year, the chief said.  

Novo initially struggled with Wegovy supply strains after introducing the obesity product in 2021. Catalent, which fills Wegovy self-injection pens at its Brussels facility, didn’t help the matter when serious issues at the plant led to two FDA shutdowns and caused delays in shipping throughout 2022.

More recently, the CDMO’s Indiana plant was reportedly tapped to fill the injection pens, according to a Reuters report from August. Catalent’s syringe-filling capabilities span its facilities in Italy, Indiana, Brussels and France.