Novo Nordisk Invests Heavily in the Fight Against Obesity with $1 Billion Acquisition of Inversago

In a move that further betters its already vast obesity and diabetes portfolio, Novo Nordisk on Thursday staked over $1 billion on the acquisition of Canadian biotech firm Inversago Pharma.

Novo’s gleaming success with the weight-loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) has produced a remarkable surge in sales during the second quarter, earning a staggering amount of over $1.1 billion. This marks an incredible 550% rise in revenue from the same quarter last year, leading to the acquisition agreement announced this Thursday.

Novo is partnering with Inversago in a $1.08 billion deal that could bring big rewards— if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved. The buyout is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory clearance and other customary conditions. Up front, Novo isn’t revealing how much it’s paying for the purchase, though big returns are certainly possible.

By acquiring Inversago, Novo is set to take a leaps forward in the field of clinical development for obesity and related disorders. Inversago’s novel CB1 receptor-based therapies have the potential to bring life-changing treatments to those living with chronic disease, especially those who are living with obesity.

“We are excited for the potential that this acquisition could bring,” said Martin Holst Lange, Novo executive vice president for development. With these new therapeutics, Novo hopes to bring better options and solutions to those suffering from obesity.

Novo Nordisk recently acquired Inversago, a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments for peripheral tissue-related conditions, for its lead asset: INV-202, an oral blocker of the CB1 receptor. Studies have demonstrated that this receptor is responsible for the regulation of metabolism and appetite, and blocking it could have therapeutic effects across various cardiometabolic and fibrotic diseases. With this acquisition, Novo Nordisk looks to bring these innovative treatments to patients in need.

In June 2023, Inversago unveiled groundbreaking findings for Phase Ib of their innovative INV-202 drug, which was presented during the 83rd American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. After 28 days of application, INV-202 was proven to be safe and effective in adults with metabolic syndrome, making Inversago’s CB1 blocker a potentially revolutionary weight-management treatment and a game-changer for those struggling with obesity and its associated complications.

A remarkable post-hoc analysis revealed that participants experiencing treatment saw a clinically relevant decrease in their weight, with an average loss of 7.7 pounds, in stark contrast to the average 1.2-pound gain for those in the placebo group.

Novo’s portfolio of diabetes and obesity care solutions just got even more enticing, thanks to the upcoming acquisition of INV-202 and Inversago’s CB1 blockers. Having already earned over $1.5 billion in the second quarter of 2023 and nearly $15 billion in the first half of the year, the addition of these compounds will add further to Novo’s success.

Novo has had another impressive quarter when it comes to sales in its medical segment, with Wegovy leading the way with over $4.3 billion in generated revenue. But Ozempic and Rybelsus, two Type 2 diabetes drugs with the active ingredient of Wegovy, aren’t far behind. Both have generated over $3.2 and nearly $590 million in the second quarter alone, a testament to the success of Novo’s medical offerings.

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