14. Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk Kalundborg, Denmark site
Novo Nordisk is in the process of launching its oral diabetes drug Rybelsus, which is carrying big expectations. (Novo Nordisk)

Novo
Estimated 2026 sales:
$27.32 billion
2019 sales: $18.3 billion
2019-26 CAGR: 5.9%

Amid Novo Nordisk’s push to get its “holy grail” oral diabetes med, Rybelsus, to the market last year, another form of the drug stole the show. Ozempic, the injectable formulation of semaglutide, surpassed the blockbuster barrier with a $1.65 billion haul.  

That performance helped offset struggles elsewhere—including for Novo’s top-selling Victoza—to help the company post nearly $18 billion in 2019 sales, a 6% increase. 

RELATED: Novo Nordisk wins FDA green light for 'holy grail' diabetes drug Rybelsus 

Looking forward, analysts expect strong growth from the company, predicting 5.9% annual growth through 2026. That’s better than all but Bristol Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca in the rankings of top 15 companies by 2026 sales. 

The growth prediction is in good part thanks to the ramp-up for Rybelsus, the company’s oral diabetes drug that scored FDA approval in September 2019. As an oral GLP-1 medicine, Rybelsus should help Novo treat more early-stage diabetes patients, executives have said. Rybelsus is carrying blockbuster expectations. 

Meanwhile, the diabetes-focused company also has big ambitions in obesity. In May, the company reported positive phase 3 data for semaglutide in obesity, a field where the drugmaker has made a big bet despite past struggles by other drugmakers. 

The company’s only approved obesity drug, Saxenda, generated about $855 million last year. Novo has set out to double its obesity sales by 2025, and with Saxenda going off patent in 2023, semaglutide is facing pressure to deliver. 

RELATED: Novo Nordisk's big obesity ambitions take shape with semaglutide win 

Aside from those growth prospects, the company continues to face pricing pressure in insulin. In that drug category, Novo’s sales fell 3% last year at constant exchange rates. 

14. Novo Nordisk
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