GLP-1s on track to take drug sales throne from PD-1 inhibitors in 2024: analyst

As GLP-1 drugs like Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy have spent the last couple of years skyrocketing in popularity—with no signs of slowing down—it was perhaps only a matter of time before they further shook up the pharma industry.

Indeed, the GLP-1 class is expected to topple the existing drug sales hierarchy before the end of this year. According to a new report from analytics firm GlobalData, GLP-1s are slated to become the best-selling drug class in 2024, usurping the throne from PD-1 inhibitors.

The PD-1 class, which includes blockbusters like Merck’s Keytruda, edged out the up-and-comer last year. But GLP-1s are expected to come out ahead in 2024, with close to $50 billion in annual sales, as PD-1 inhibitors are expected to haul in something in the lower $40 billion region, by GlobalData’s estimates.

From there, GLP-1s are poised to take that lead and run with it, progressively widening the gap over the next half-decade with a compound annual growth rate of 19.2%, to PD-1s’ 4.7%. By 2029, annual sales of GLP-1s are forecasted to surpass the $100 billion mark, while PD-1s will only rake in about half as much, clocking about $51 billion in sales that year after coming down from a peak of close to $60 billion in the year prior, according to the report.

“This shift could reflect a changing demand away from oncology toward addressing metabolic disorders,” GlobalData analyst Kevin Marcaida said in a statement. “As industry leaders such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly drive this evolution, GlobalData anticipates a reorientation in drug preferences in the coming years.”

GLP-1s have surged in popularity in recent years not only for their indicated uses in obesity and Type 2 diabetes but also in their off-label use as a weight loss aid for those without obesity—the latter of which is so rampant that it has caused shortages of the drugs and sparked a recent crusade from Lilly against “cosmetic” use of its Mounjaro and Zepbound.

However they’re used, the craze has spurred widespread development of GLP-1 drugs across biopharma, with current leaders in the space hard at work on the next generation of the treatments and a long list of competitors jostling for a seat at the $100 billion table, too.

As Marcaida noted in the report, GLP-1 sales boast a “more diversified landscape” than among PD-1 inhibitors, where just two drugs—Keytruda and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo—were responsible for 87% of their class’ sales last year. In the GLP-1 space, meanwhile, a trio of drugs—Ozempic, Mounjaro and Lilly’s Trulicity—drove 70% of sales in 2023.

By 2029, according to GlobalData, a total of five drugs will be monopolizing the GLP-1 market, with 83% of sales: Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy, plus Novo Nordisk’s Cagrisema and Rybelsus. At that time, Mounjaro will take the lead, drumming up more than $33 billion on its own but its maker, Lilly, will be edged out by Novo Nordisk as the drugmaker driving the most GLP-1 sales, thanks to a growing roster in the space that’s expected to clinch 55% of GLP-1s’ market share by the end of this decade.