Eli Lilly's Mounjaro is primed to overtake Novo Nordisk's popular diabetes and obesity duo: report

In the battle for superiority in the field of next-gen diabetes and obesity treatments, Novo Nordisk holds the lead as the developer of the metabolism-regulating treatment semaglutide.

But Eli Lilly is quickly gaining ground and is primed to become the market leader with its rival Mounjaro (tirzepatide), according to a new report from GlobalData.

Approved in May of last year for Type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro has already had a strong launch. In the first quarter, it clobbered expectations, posting $569 million in sales.

Now, Mounjaro appears on the verge of an approval to treat obesity. In April, the company posted its second late-stage trial win in the indication, with patients on the drug losing an average of 15.7% of their body weight. An FDA nod could come by the end of the year.

Analysts with GlobalData believe the trial data set Mounjaro up to be the world’s premiere obesity treatment, with losses of up to 22.5% of body weight in some patients and about half realizing at least a 20% reduction.

“Lilly’s blockbuster therapy to tackle the global obesity pandemic will undoubtedly gain widespread adoption by patients and providers,” GlobalData analyst Akash Patel said in a release. “Mounjaro’s approval in 2022 for T2D has already led to many prescribers providing the therapy off-label to their patients to help them lose weight.”

Investors have jumped on the bandwagon as Lilly has surged to the top spot in the biopharma industry in market cap at $420 billion, rolling past longtime leader Johnson & Johnson. The emergence of Mounjaro has played a major role, helping boost Lilly’s value from $151 billion at the start of 2021.

Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic was approved for Type 2 in 2017 but demand for the GLP-1 therapy has surged in recent years as its weight loss benefits have become evident. In 2021, the company gained approval for the obesity indication and branded its drug Wegovy for that use.

GlobalData predicts sales of Novo's Ozempic will increase by 23% in 2023, reaching $12.5 billion. For their part, analysts with ODDO BHF have said they expect Novo's Wegovy to pull down more than $4 billion this year.

Meanwhile, Mounjaro’s sales are expected to reach $3 billion this year. Analysts at SVB Securities have projected sales from the drug could reach a whopping $26.4 billion by 2030.