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Novo Nordisk: Semaglutide Heralds Commercial Dawn Of Obesity Market

Executive Summary

The Danish group expects its experimental GLP-1 semaglutide to prove so effective and safe in fighting obesity that it will spur commercial viability for medical treatment of the condition.

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Brand Spotlight: Novo Nordisk’s Semaglutide

Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist marketed in an injected formulation as Ozempic, and an oral tablet form as Rybelsus, is a success story with the potential for an epic third act. First approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, semaglutide is under FDA review as a treatment for obesity, with additional clinical programs in NASH and Alzheimer’s disease. 

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Orexigen hoped its go-it-alone strategy would boost obesity drug Contrave's sales enough to keep the company afloat, but now it has initiated bankruptcy proceedings, following through on a warning in October that it might not meet debt holders' requirements.

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Orexigen, one of just five biopharma companies with an obesity product on the market, has become concerned about its ability to stay in business. Even so, the misfortune of several firms hasn't dissuaded others, including Novo Nordisk, from investing in the potentially large weight-loss market.

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