With Wegovy supply unfettered, Novo Nordisk ratchets up its 2023 growth forecast

After working through a supply disruption early in Wegovy’s launch, Novo Nordisk is ready to ride its obesity star’s momentum.

Novo has nearly doubled its growth expectations for the full year after turning in a strong first quarter. The company boosted its sales growth expectations for 2023 to a range of 24% to 30%, up from a prior range of 13% to 19%.

Chalk it up to strong Wegovy prescription trends and a rosier full-year sales outlook for the GLP-1 obesity drug. Further, Novo says a second contract manufacturer is lined up and ready to roll on production of the blockbuster-in-waiting, which will further boost supply.

Novo adjusted its 2023 guidance after posting a 25% companywide revenue increase in the first quarter of 2023. Also during the period, Novo grew profits at 28% compared with the same period last year.

Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy entered the scene with big expectations behind it, but the drug quickly fell victim to supply woes when demand pressures dovetailed into contract manufacturing mishaps. In turn, availability of the drug was constricted for much of 2022.

Novo Nordisk has since rectified its supply chain issues with Wegovy, though the Danish drugmaker has warned pharmacies may continue to experience delays linked to ordering timelines and geographic variability. 

Novo’s Wegovy relaunch has been “extremely well-focused,” analysts at ODDO BHF wrote in a note to clients Friday. In light of Novo’s upsized sales forecast, the ODDO team now expects Wegovy and diabetes drug Ozempic to generate around $4.2 billion and $11.1 billion this year, respectively.

Speaking of Ozempic, Novo credited that drug’s growth—and the wider volume growth of the GLP-1 class writ large—as another contributing factor in its boosted 2023 sales forecast.

When it comes to specifics, Novo is playing its cards close to the vest for now. The company says it will disclose its first-quarter financial results in full on May 4.