Novo Nordisk’s Parent Company Purchases Catalent for $16.5 Billion

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The deal is expected to help boost supply of Wegovy.

Image Credit: Novo Nordisk

Image Credit: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk continues to make moves to improve the supply of popular weight loss drug Wegovy.

The drugmaker’s parent company, Novo Holdings, has agreed to acquire Catalent, Inc., a global contract development company. According to a report from MSNBC, the deal is set for $16.5 billion.1

According to a press release from Novo Nordisk, the deal is expected to close by the end of 2024 and is contingent upon various conditions.2 These include both approval by Catalent board members and regulatory authorities. As is typical in situations like this, Catalent will continue to operate as an independent company until the merger is approved and completed.

As part of the deal, Novo Nordisk plans to purchase three manufacturing sites that Novo Holdings will acquire from Catalent, contingent on the deal going through. Once the purchase is finalized, Novo Nordisk will pay $11 billion to its parent company for the three sites.

The sites are fill-finish sites and are planned to be used to increase the supply of Wegovy. Each of the sites already has an existing relationship with Novo Nordisk and employ a combined 3,000 people. The sites are located in Anagni, Italy, Brussels, Belgium, and Bloomington, Ind. in the US.

In a press release, Novo Nordisk president and CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen said, “We are very pleased with the agreement to acquire the three Catalent manufacturing sites which will enable us to serve significantly more people living with diabetes and obesity in the future. The acquisition complements the significant investments we are already doing in active pharmaceutical ingredients facilities, and the sites will provide strategic flexibility to our existing supply network.”

The acquisition is the latest move by the company to increase the supply of Wegovy, a popular weight loss drug. Due to the medication’s popularity, the company has struggled to meet the demand and has had to take steps to limit access to the drug.

In early February, Pharmaceutical Executive, Pharma Commerce’s sister publication, reported that Novo Nordisk had increased the supply of the low-dose (starter) version of Wegovy.3 This will allow HCPs to allow more patients to begin using the medication. The company had previously limited these doses in a direct attempt to limit the number of patients starting the medication in order to help maintain the supply for patients already taking the drug. In May 2023, the company also halted all marketing for the drug due to the extreme demand.

The drug along with its alternate brand Ozempic became popular after being promoted by social media influencers and are often believed to be a favorite among celebrities looking to lose or maintain a lower weight.

Wegovy helped launch a new interest in weight-loss drugs in the United States. Since 2023, there has been both an increase in demand and visibility for these drugs. Despite the company’s struggles to meet demand, Novo Nordisk has seen an increase in profits thanks to the popularity of these drugs.

References

1. Constantino, Annika Kim. Novo Nordisk parent to buy Catalent for $16.5 billion to expand Wegovy supply. MSNBC. February 5, 2024. https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/05/novo-nordisk-parent-to-buy-catalent-to-expand-wegovy-supply.html

2. Novo Nordisk to acquire three fill-finish sites from Novo Holdings A/S in connection with the Catalent, Inc. transaction. Novo Nordisk. February 5, 2024. https://www.novonordisk.com/content/nncorp/global/en/news-and-media/news-and-ir-materials/news-details.html?id=167017

3. Hollan, Mike. Novo Nordisk Increases Supply of Lower-Dose Wegovy to Meet Continued Demand. Pharmaceutical Executive. February 2, 2024. Accessed February 5, 2024. https://www.pharmexec.com/view/novo-nordisk-increases-supply-wegovy-continued-demand

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