The success of GLP-1 drugs lifted the quarterly revenues of Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, according to financials released Thursday morning.

Lilly recorded a revenue increase of 37% thanks to the success of Verzenio, Jardiance and Mounjaro (tirzepatide), its treatment for diabetes and obesity. The drug, which has achieved mainstream popularity, continues to bolster the drugmaker’s bottom line and generated more than $1.4 billion in quarterly revenue.

Another financial boon for Lilly was its sale of rights for the olanzapine portfolio (Zyprexa) for $1.42 billion.

Lilly led the way among drugmakers on the dealmaking front during Q3.

In addition to closing several major acquisitions like Dice Therapeutics, Versanis Bio, Emergence Therapeutics and Sigilon Therapeutics, Lilly also agreed to buy Point Biopharma Global.

Earlier this week, Lilly also announced that it acquired Beam Therapeutics’ opt-in rights to Verve Therapeutics’ base editing programs for cardiovascular disease

“Lilly had another strong quarter in Q3 as Mounjaro and Verzenio continued to gain momentum,” Eli Lilly CEO David A. Ricks said in a statement. “Lilly executed on business development priorities in the third quarter, including multiple acquisitions that expand our already robust pipeline. We remain focused on growth and delivering new, innovative medicines that make life better for millions of patients around the globe.”

Still, despite the topline growth, Lilly recorded an earnings per share loss of $0.06 and lowered its full-year EPS guidance to the range of $5.95 to $6.15.

Ozempic, Wegovy boost Novo

Similar to Lilly, Novo enjoyed an exceptionally strong quarter thanks to its weight-loss drugs.

The Danish drugmaker reported that its operating profit rose 37% at constant exchange rates (CER), with its diabetes and obesity care division sales growing 40% at CER. 

Overall, net sales rose 33% at CER and the company recorded a net profit of 61.7 billion Danish kroner.

The sale of GLP-1 diabetes drugs rose 49% at CER while obesity care products grew 174%. 

One metric that slid during the quarter was rare disease sales, which decreased 18% at CER.

Still, Novo is riding the continued success of its GLP-1 drugs going forward. 

As a result of the success of Ozempic and Wegovy, Novo raised its sales outlook to a range of 32% to 38% CER with operating growth to be between 40% to 46%.

“We are very satisfied with the sales growth in the first nine months of 2023, which is reflecting that more people than ever are benefiting from our innovative diabetes and obesity treatments,” Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said in a statement. 

The company also released its earnings days after it reportedly enlisted Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies as the third contract manufacturer, alongside Catalent and Thermo Fisher Scientific, to fill Wegovy injection pens to meet the significant market demand.

This all comes as this class of drugs not only deliver meaningful weight-loss results but also indicate the potential to mitigate cardiovascular risks.

In two studies released in recent months, Novo found that its once-weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg drug cut the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 20% and led to “large reductions” in heart failure-related symptoms for adults with the condition and obesity.

Looking ahead, Novo said it plans to apply for regulatory approval of label expansion for Wegovy in the U.S. and E.U. in the coming months.

Like its counterpart Lilly, Novo was also an active buyer over the summer, announcing a deal worth up to $500 million to buy obesity biotech Embark Laboratories as well as one worth just over $1 billion for Inversago Pharma.

Just a few weeks ago, Novo also enhanced its renal care offerings by scooping up a kidney drug from KBP Biosciences PTE in a deal worth up to $1.3 billion.

Moderna momentum

Meanwhile, Moderna is keeping its foot on the gas as it and other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers navigate the reality of a post-emergency landscape. 

The company topped expectations with $1.8 billion in revenue, aims to generate $4 billion next year and said it expects to return to sales growth in 2025. By 2026, the company expects to break even. 

Moderna did record a net loss of $3.6 billion, which it attributed to non-cash charges for $3.1 billion related to resizing and a tax valuation allowance as it alters its future cost of sales through resizing its manufacturing capacity.

While demand for its COVID vaccine Spikevax has declined, like other COVID products across the sector, Moderna stated that its market share has grown from 36% last year to 45% this year.

Despite the promising earnings numbers, Moderna’s stock was down around 8% during the mid-morning trading Thursday.

Going forward, Moderna is keeping its eyes open to possibilities outside the COVID treatment space.

Moderna’s chief brand officer Kate Cronin told MM+M in September that the organization is looking to leverage its mRNA-based technology in more disease states and change the public perception that it is only a COVID vaccine maker. 

In the earnings announcement, Moderna said its RSV vaccine, mRNA-1345, which received a breakthrough designation from the Food and Drug Administration at the end of January, is expected to launch next year. 

Additionally, last month, the company announced that its combination flu and COVID-19 vaccine showed promising results in a Phase 1/2 trial.

Rising revenue at Regeneron

In addition to Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Moderna, Regeneron also produced its latest quarterly earnings report Thursday morning.

Revenues at the Tarrytown, New York-based company rose 15% year-over-year to $3.36 billion thanks to 33% growth in global net sales of Dupixent. Additionally, U.S. net sales of Eylea and Eylea HD totaled $1.49 billion, while global net sales of Libtayo rose 62% to $232 million.

Regeneron CEO Leonard S. Schleifer, MD, PhD cheered not only the financial results but also the growing and expansive pipeline of drugs the company is developing.

“We are also making significant progress across our diversified pipeline, with FDA priority review designations for odronextamab in relapsed/refractory (R/R) follicular lymphoma and R/R diffuse large B-cell lymphoma as well as for Dupixent in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis, while also adding a promising gene therapy platform to our portfolio through the recent acquisition of Decibel Therapeutics,” he said in a statement.
On the leadership front, Regeneron also elevated SVP, head of accounting and controller Christopher Fenimore to succeed CFO Robert E. Landry in February 2024.

For a February 2024 post about Moderna posting a surprise quarterly profit as it eyes RSV vaccine approval, click here.