Novo Nordisk's semaglutide gets U.S. FDA approval for obesity treatment

FILE PHOTO: Flags are seen outside Novo Nordisk headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

(Reuters) -Denmark’s Novo Nordisk on Friday said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its semaglutide drug as a treatment for obesity.

Novo said it expects to launch the drug, which will be sold under the brand name Wegovy, in the United States later in June 2021.

The FDA approved a dosage of 2.4 milligram semaglutide as a treatment for adults with obesity or overweight as an adjunct to physical exercise and reduced-calorie diet, Novo said.

The approval is a big win for Novo, which has seen its core insulin business suffer from tough competition, prompting it to turn towards newer diabetes and obesity drugs to revive growth.

Novo’s revenue growth has been driven by sales of its newer GLP-1 products, which imitate an intestinal hormone that stimulates insulin production, lowers appetite and increases feelings of fullness in patients.

Novo, the first to introduce GLP-1 drugs on the obesity market, could benefit from more rivals entering the field to help brand obesity drug treatment among general practitioners.

Novo Nordisk already has one GLP-1 drug on the market to treat obesity, Saxenda, a daily injectable which lowers patients’ appetite and increases feelings of fullness.

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