Most analysts expect the market for new weight-loss drugs like Wegovy and Mounjaro to be huge, but estimates of the exact size vary depending on who you ask.
On Monday, Citi raised its estimate for incretin drug sales to $71 billion by 2035, up from its previous estimate of $55 billion. This viewpoint seems really conservative when compared to predictions like Guggenheim’s. Last month, the company argued there was a market potential of $150 billion to $200 billion for these drugs.
Guggenheim analyst Seamus Fernandez’s belief is based on his belief that GLP-1-based incretins will be the most widely prescribed drugs of all time by or before 2031. Not only are these medications good at controlling insulin levels and helping patients lose weight, but there are also studies underway to show their benefits for cardiovascular health, sleep apnea, and chronic kidney disease, to name a few.
Fernandez expects $50 billion in GLP-1 sales to come from patients with diabetes as incretin medications become the standard of care for the condition. Patients with obesity would increase sales by another $140 billion, he said.
Citi’s forecast reflects more modest assumptions. The number of patients electing the weekly injections is expected to be less than 10% of the obese non-Medicare patient population.
“Despite the obvious demand and unmet medical need, we continue to struggle with the inability to accurately predict the long-term upside for incretins given the >42% prevalence of obesity,” analyst Andrew Baum wrote in a research note on Monday.
The drugs are very expensive, with a list price of up to $1,350 per month for Wegovy. Currently, private insurance coverage is no guarantee for those seeking weight loss treatment, and the federal Medicare program does not cover weight loss medications at all.
Nevertheless, the insurance situation is improving and there are supply bottlenecks.
Numerous analysts believe these issues will be resolved over time and expect peak sales of these drugs to reach around $100 billion by 2030. Goldman Sachs joined this camp last Monday with its latest forecast.
“We estimate that approximately 15 million adults in the United States will be treated for AOM by 2030.” [anti-obesity medication] for chronic weight control (excluding patients being treated for type 2 diabetes), representing a prevalence of about 13% in the adult U.S. population,” analyst Chris Shibutani wrote in a research note.
Shibutani said about $52 billion would be raised by Eli Lilly, which sells Mounjaro, or tirzepatide. Eli Lilly expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve this drug to treat obesity by the end of this year. Its pipeline also includes next-generation experimental incretins, Forglipron and Retatrutide.
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Eli Lilly shares are up nearly 60% since the beginning of the year.
Novo Nordisk, which is already approved to sell Wegovy (semaglutide) as a weight-loss drug, also has other anti-obesity drugs in its pipeline, such as CagriSema.
Many industry analysts believe that Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly will continue to dominate this market segment in a duopoly for quite some time. There are several other drugmakers that want to enter this segment, but they are lagging significantly behind. Goldman’s model predicts the two companies will have 80% market share by 2030.
Both stocks have risen significantly on optimism for the obesity drug market. Shares of Eli Lilly have gained nearly 60%, while Novo Nordisk has gained more than 40%.
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Source : www.cnbc.com