Making us thinner will see fatter profits for pharma as Bloomberg's crystal ball predicts obesity drug sales hitting $44B by 2030

Novo Nordisk has lit the tinder of a new megablockbuster market with Saxenda and Wegovy as new, branded anti-obesity drugs are set to haul in $44 billion by this decade’s end.

That’s according to the latest projections in a new report by Bloomberg Intelligence, which found sales of branded anti-obesity drugs could hit $44 billion, when risk adjusted, in 2030. That would be a major ballooning of a market that was worth just $2.5 billion last year.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, nearly 70% of that figure will stem from the U.S. The analysts said they expect a slower ramp-up in Europe and a 20% price discount to the U.S., given the use of health technology assessors on the continent.

The market is set to be dominated by Novo’s Saxenda and, more notably, its newer semaglutide-based drug Wegovy, both GLP-1s, as well as Eli Lilly's tirzepatide. Lilly's drug, which works as a dual GLP-1/GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide), is currently marketed as Mounjaro in diabetes but will likely soon see a filing for obesity, with a potential launch by late this year or early 2024. 

“We expect Novo Nordisk's franchise and Eli Lilly's tirzepatide to dominate with shares of 54% and 46% respectively, while contributions from less-effective anti-obesity drugs are negligible,” said Michael Shah, senior industry analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in the report.

But more drugs are on the horizon that could bump these estimates up. “Pipeline developments such as oral GLP-1s by Lilly and Pfizer, and Amgen and Lilly's dual- and triple-combination drugs represent upside to our view,” Shah said in the report. 

The newest class of drugs from Novo and Lilly are all injectable but both are also now working on oral versions. Pfizer, yet to market an anti-obesity drug, is also working on an oral-only drug called danuglipron, a small-molecule GLP-1R agonist, and encouraging early-stage data could see it enter the market later this decade.

Analysts said in the report that “securing broad reimbursement and supply are key” when it comes to marketing these drugs, with “possible upside from further innovations including combination products.” They added that the anti-obesity market could “mirror those seen in diabetes,” where Novo and Lilly are already the biggest players.

Shah continued: “Unprecedented demand in obesity coupled with the strong relaunch of Wegovy, which serves as a benchmark for future launches, underpins our upgraded sales view for the market. Our previous scenario, published in early February, called for $28 billion in obesity sales in 2030 (or $33 billion if we don't adjust for clinical failure risk).”