Wegovy's Massive Demand: Novo Nordisk CEO Expresses Full Confidence In Catalent Amid Manufacturing Hurdles

Novo Nordisk A/S's NVO CEO, Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, expressed confidence in Catalent Inc's CTLT capability to rectify its manufacturing issues related to its popular weight-loss drug Wegovy.

Jorgensen conveyed his optimism during a Reuters Newsmaker event on Friday in response to Catalent's recent manufacturing challenges. 

In July, Catalent's Brussels facility, responsible for filling Wegovy injection pens, faced multiple U.S. sterile safety standards breaches. 

Additionally, there were instances where staff neglected mandatory quality checks.

"These products aren't simple to manufacture," Jorgensen remarked, demonstrating one of the self-injection pens that houses a glass vial requiring sterile filling conditions. 

He emphasized the complexities involved in its production, adding that only a handful of companies can produce such items at a large scale.

To bolster the production of Wegovy, Novo Nordisk plans to incorporate a third external facility dedicated to the filling and finishing process of the injection pens by 2024. 

This timeline deviates from the company's earlier announcement of adding a third production line in the latter half of this year. 

Jorgensen candidly mentioned that it would take "quite some years" before the company could completely cater to the ever-growing market demand for Wegovy.

Earlier this week, Novo Nordisk onboarded Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc TMO as its secondary contract manufacturer for the weight-loss drug.

Jorgensen emphasized the unprecedented nature of the current production expansion of the injection pen due to the overwhelming demand for Wegovy. 

He said, "I believe it's challenging to pinpoint any other instances in pharmaceutical history where a product has experienced such an accelerated ramp-up."

As the demand for Wegovy continues to grow, it remains to be seen how Novo Nordisk and its partners navigate the challenges to ensure a consistent supply of this much-sought-after weight-loss medication.

The CEO also announced its plans to collaborate with European healthcare systems to improve access to Wegovy for less fortunate and more obese individuals.

Price Action: NVO shares are down 0.15% at $185.07 on the last check Friday.

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