High-flying Novo Nordisk again dials up its 2023 sales and profit expectations

The popular diabetes med Ozempic and its sister weight-loss drug Wegovy are boosting Novo Nordisk to new highs again and again.

The Danish company now expects full-year sales to grow between 32% and 38% at constant exchange rates.

The new projection, released on Friday, represents a 5-percentage-point increase on both ends of the range from an August estimate, which itself was 3 percentage points higher than a previous forecast from April.

Novo's share price at one point traded at around $104 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, a new all-time high.

Huge demand for Ozempic—which is often used off-label to treat obesity—plus new discount adjustments for Ozempic and Wegovy in the U.S. drove the updated sales outlook, Novo explained in a release.

Novo on Friday also dialed up its estimated profit growth rate by 9 percentage points to a range of 40% to 46%. The company released the new numbers ahead of full disclosure of its third-quarter results, scheduled for Nov. 2.

Success of Ozempic and Wegovy—both of which use the semaglutide ingredient—have made Novo Nordisk the most valuable company in Europe.

Trying to cope with the surging demand, Novo in May implemented restrictions on starter doses of Wegovy so that existing patients can obtain enough supply. The company has said it expects limited supply of the starter doses to persist into 2024.

To increase output, Novo has hired Thermo Fisher’s CDMO subsidiary Patheon to help fill the injection pens for Wegovy, Reuters reported in August. The FDA has previously flagged problems at Wegovy-producing plants by Novo and its other contractor Catalent.

While diabetes and obesity are already giving Novo unprecedented sales, the company is still trying to expand semaglutide into new indications.

Earlier this week, Novo stopped a trial early after semaglutide showed it could slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and cut the risk of kidney- or cardiovascular-related deaths in patients with CKD and Type 2 diabetes. Before that, Novo said in August that the drug pared down the risk of major cardiovascular events by 20% compared with standard of care in overweight people with established cardiovascular disease.

Major sales boosts await if semaglutide can win approvals to improve cardiovascular outcomes and prevent the progression of CKD.