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Novo Nordisk on Thursday said it will acquire Inversago Pharma, a privately held obesity drug maker, for up to $1.08 billion to broaden the Danish company’s blockbuster weight loss portfolio.
The deal is Novo Nordisk’s latest attempt to capitalize on the weight loss industry gold rush, which began last year after its Wegovy and Ozempic injections skyrocketed in popularity.
The deal’s price depends on whether Inversago reaches certain development and sales goals, Novo Nordisk said in a release. The companies expect to close the acquisition before the end of the year.
Canada-based Inversago develops experimental therapies to treat people with obesity, diabetes and other conditions affecting the body’s metabolism.
Inversago’s drugs use a different approach than most treatments in the obesity and diabetes space. They block a protein in the brain called cannabinoid receptor type 1, which plays a role in metabolism and regulating a person’s appetite.
Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Ozempic work by mimicking a hormone produced in the gut to suppress a person’s appetite.
“The acquisition of Inversago Pharma will further strengthen our clinical development pipeline in obesity and related disorders,” said Martin Holst Lange, Novo Nordisk’s executive vice president for development, in a release.
“This promising class of medicine pioneered by the Inversago team could lead to life-changing new treatment options for those living with a serious chronic disease and, in particular, may offer alternative or complementary solutions for people living with obesity,” he added.
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Inversago’s leading therapy is an oral drug that helped patients lose an average of 7.7 pounds after 28 days in a small phase one clinical trial. Those who took a placebo in that trial gained 1 pound on average during the same time period.
Novo Nordisk intends to further investigate the potential of the oral drug for obesity and obesity-related complications.
Separately on Thursday, Novo Nordisk reported second-quarter results and raised its full-year outlook due to soaring demand for its obesity and diabetes products.
But the drugmaker said it is extending supply restrictions in the U.S. for some doses of Wegovy.
Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen on Thursday, in an interview with Reuters, signaled that significant demand for Wegovy will outstrip availabilities in the foreseeable future. He said the company will likely have limits of availability of Wegovy into 2024.