This Spring Festival, Jia Ling, who lost 100 pounds, has been on the hot search list on major online platforms. Yesterday, many weight-loss drug concept stocks including Hanyu Pharmaceutical, Huadong Pharmaceutical, Asymex, Amic, etc. rose sharply.

  According to Caitong Securities research report, it is expected that my country's weight loss drug compliance market is expected to exceed 12 billion yuan in 2025. Morgan Stanley estimates based on market demand that the market size of weight loss drugs is expected to exceed US$54 billion by 2030, and is expected to surpass PD-1/PD-L1 to become the largest drug market in the world.

  Last Friday, the share price of Eli Lilly, one of the "two heroes" of weight loss drugs, hit a record high, reporting at $782.06 per share. Morgan Stanley predicts that Eli Lilly is expected to become the first biopharmaceutical company to reach a market value of US$1 trillion with its ongoing trial of the oral GLP-1 drug Orforglipron. Recently, the major shareholder of Novo Nordisk, another protagonist of the "Two Heroes", stated that it will acquire CDMO giant Catalent for US$16.5 billion. After the transaction, the production capacity of semaglutide will be increased. Against this background, domestic pharmaceutical companies are also speeding up to catch up.

Slimming drug concept stocks surged yesterday

Domestic pharmaceutical companies are deepening their layout

  Since the movie "Hot" directed and starring Jia Ling was released on the first day of the Lunar New Year, topics such as "Jia Ling lost 100 pounds" have become hot topics. Influenced by the movie, sales of weight loss pills on Taobao, and other platforms have recently shown an upward trend.

  In the capital market, the weight-loss drug concept sector continues to attract attention, with many stocks seeing sharp gains yesterday. Pacific Securities believes that changes in modern lifestyles and eating habits have led to more and more people falling into obesity, and GLP-1 drugs have attracted the interest of many consumers as a potential weight loss solution.

  The huge market potential of weight-loss drugs has attracted a number of domestic pharmaceutical companies to compete. At present, many pharmaceutical companies such as Huadong Medicine, Innovent Biologics, Hanyu Pharmaceuticals, Asymchem, Hengrui Pharmaceuticals, Amic, Ganli Pharmaceuticals, etc. have plans. On February 6, Hengrui Medicine announced that the oral small molecule GLP-1 agonist HRS-7535 was approved for phase II clinical trials for weight loss; on the same day, Tonghua Dongbao also announced that the GLP-1/GIP agonist THDBH120 The clinical application for weight loss indications was accepted.

  In terms of production capacity, the "Environmental Impact Report of the Chemical Preparation Reconstruction Project of Borui Pharmaceutical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd." previously published by the Suzhou Industrial Park Management Committee website shows that the reconstruction includes an additional 350 million pieces/year BGM0504 injection production capacity, and the purpose In order to "reduce blood sugar and lose weight", there are a total of 3 production lines; Hanyu Pharmaceutical has also announced that it will raise 254 million yuan in fixed increase, and the funds will be used to expand the production capacity of the subsidiary Hanyu Wuhan and the company. Meglutide research and development project.

Novo Nordisk:

Massive efforts to increase production capacity draw attention

  It is understood that the world's most popular GLP-1 weight loss drugs come from Denmark's Novo Nordisk and the United States' Eli Lilly and Company. The two companies are spending heavily to increase the production capacity of related drugs.

  In 2023, the sales of semaglutide in China will be approximately 4.998 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of over 119%. In fact, Novo Nordisk has always wanted to solve the production capacity problem through self-construction. Throughout 2023, Novo Nordisk will invest a total of more than 75 billion Danish kroner to expand the global production base of semaglutide. Construction of these projects is ongoing and efforts are underway to operate existing facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  At the same time, in early 2023, the European Medicines Agency issued a drug shortage warning. Novo Nordisk's semaglutide will face a longer shortage, which is expected to last throughout 2023, requiring doctors to give priority to diabetic patients rather than obese patients. supply. Since last May, Novo Nordisk has limited the availability of its low-dose weight-loss drug in the United States due to supply shortages. The sales of semaglutide injection in the fourth quarter of 2023 were also lower than analysts’ expectations. The industry believes that its production capacity problems may have affected its rate of making money.

  It is reported that semaglutide is rapidly expanding its production capacity to stabilize or even further increase its market share. It will acquire CDMO giant Catalent for US$16.5 billion, when the latter will sell three pharmaceutical sterile filling plants to Novo Nordisk. After the transaction is completed, Novo Nordisk's filling capacity will gradually increase from 2026, and the production capacity of semaglutide will be further increased by then.

Lilly: Production capacity will be significantly increased in the second half of this year

  This transaction attracted the attention of the industry and also caused a chain reaction. Eli Lilly executives are concerned that a deal by Novo Nordisk's controlling shareholder to acquire Catalent could hit the company's ability to deliver the drug. Eli Lilly executives recently told investment bank analysts on an earnings call that they were indeed concerned about the deal because Catalent itself has a drug manufacturing business with Eli Lilly.

  Eli Lilly Chief Financial Officer Anat Ashkenazi said: "In terms of medicines for diabetes and obesity, we have related products with them. Our focus now is to ensure that the continuity of supply of medicines is not disrupted, and we intend to make Catalent available for We are responsible for the contract signed between us." Catalent is the world's leading pharmaceutical OEM company and is responsible for operating the filling base. Catalent has previously been a rare, named service in the supply chain of Novo Nordisk's weight loss drugs. provider.

  Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks said that creating new manufacturing capacity is a "top priority" and the company is expanding production at existing plants and expanding its factory in North Carolina, USA. But he also said that there are limits to the speed of production expansion of GLP-1 drugs such as Mounjaro and Zepbound.

  Eli Lilly's recently announced 2023 financial report shows that Zepbound, the weight loss version of its GLP-1 drug Tirzepatide, had sales of US$176 million, and the drug was only approved for weight loss in the United States on November 8, 2023. In less than two months, the drug has sold nearly $200 million. In the financial report, Eli Lilly specifically mentioned the production capacity issue of GLP-1 drugs: The company will continue to execute the production expansion plan, but considering the strong demand and the time required to fully put into production, it is expected that its diabetes and weight loss drugs will be released in 2024. demand will exceed supply.

  Eli Lilly executives once again emphasized the company's determination to expand production capacity during the earnings call: Production in the second half of 2024 will increase significantly, and the production of salable doses of GLP-1 drugs will increase by at least 1.5 times compared with the same period in 2023.

Reporter observation

Slimming drug pattern or regeneration changes

  Judging from the current situation, weight loss drugs may still be a "must compete" for many pharmaceutical companies in the new year. In fact, judging from the market response, safety, effectiveness, and availability are the key "selling points" of weight loss drugs, but price is relatively low in the ranking, because people who are interested in losing weight are often not very sensitive to product prices. GLP-1 is a hormone produced primarily by intestinal L cells. GLP-1 receptor kinetin has become a new type of hypoglycemic drug in recent years. It can activate GLP-1 receptors, enhance insulin secretion in a glucose concentration-dependent manner, inhibit glucagon secretion, delay gastric emptying speed, and centrally activate GLP-1 receptor kinetin. Appetite suppression reduces food intake, thereby achieving effects such as lowering blood sugar and losing weight.

  It is understood that there is currently no tight supply or shortage of domestically produced GLP-1 drugs. Relevant companies have made arrangements in terms of production capacity, but the sense of urgency does not seem to be strong yet. In 2023, the pipeline layout of Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly helped the "two heroes" win their first victory. However, the problems currently faced by both companies are insufficient production capacity and intensified competition. "A big tree attracts the wind." The strong demand and considerable profits for weight-loss drugs have attracted other large pharmaceutical companies to join. AstraZeneca, Pfizer, etc. are all developing or launching similar products to compete.

  Faced with the huge demand from people who want to lose weight, seeing that Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly’s “top priority” is to fill the gap between supply and demand, domestic pharmaceutical companies need to be reminded that as a “substitute” army, they may need to provide new products while also Bring new production capacity.

  It can be predicted that in the new year, the weight loss drug market will become more intense. There are those who are leading the way, some who are catching up, some who have to overcome production bottlenecks, and some who are still facing R&D hurdles. In short, there are certain variables in the future market structure. .

  Text/Guangzhou Daily all-media reporter Tu Duanyu