US to see surge in new obesity drug launches in next five years

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Obesity Eli lilly Novo nordisk Diabetes

Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in obesity rates among U.S. adults, with projections indicating a continuing upward trend.

Two blockbuster drug launches within the last few years – Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy (semaglutide) and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro (tirzepatide)—have highlighted the lucrative potential offered by this market.

Encouraged by the performance of these drugs, companies are racing to commercialize their alternative obesity treatments, as a prodigious 13 drug launches are projected over the next five years in the US, according to data and analytics firm GlobalData.

Obesity poses health risks for several chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the U.S., obesity rates rose from 31% in 1999 to 42% in 2020 and this trajectory is forecast to continue, as nearly 50% of US adults are expected to be obese by 2030.

The increasing target population emphasizes the huge potential offered by obesity treatments.

With drug developers having identified the immense potential for revenue in this market, GlobalData forecasts novel drug launches in the US from 2024 to 2028.

Given the growing patient base, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro generated $9.7 billion globally in 2023, following their 2021 and 2023 launches, respectively.

This value represents a 239% increase from the total revenue generated from all obesity drugs in 2022.

Jasper Morley, pharma analyst at GlobalData, said: “Starting in 2024, significant increases in the number of launches are expected per year, culminating in a peak of four launches in both 2027 and 2028. This surge in commercial launches over the next five years represents a 333% increase in comparison to the three launches over the preceding five-year period (2019–23).”

According to GlobalData, Novo Nordisk will account for six of the estimated 13 launches – cementing the Danish pharma giant’s dominant position in the market.

Its lead pipeline drug, Cagrisema (semaglutide + cagrilintide), is currently in phase 3 for obesity.

This product is expected to launch in the US by the end of 2025, where it is forecast to generate $7.4 billion by 2029.

Morley concludes: “Recent blockbuster launches have showcased the viability of obesity drugs, encouraging drug developers to commercialize their products.

“As such, the US obesity market is set to rapidly expand over the next five years, with a plethora of new launches. In accordance with the increasing patient population, it is highly likely that a number of companies manufacturing these later entrants will receive great returns.”

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