While reimbursement and education challenges persist, drugmakers like Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are poised to unlock a global obesity market that could be worth more than $50 billion by the end of the decade, analysts at Morgan Stanley Research wrote in a note to clients Friday.
Novo’s latest semaglutide med, Wegovy, scored its landmark obesity nod last summer. And Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide, recently approved as Mounjaro, has big weight loss ambitions beyond its initial diabetes green light.
Obesity is the “new hypertension,” with the potential to become “the next blockbuster pharma category,” the Morgan Stanley team contends. The condition was officially classified as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association in 2013 and the European Commission last year, with the field now “on the cusp of moving into mainstream primary care management.” This shifting market resembles that for high blood pressure treatment in the 1980s, which transformed into a $30 billion market by the end of the ‘90s, the analysts explained.
“Focus is shifting to the upstream cause as opposed to the downstream consequences of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” the Morgan Stanley team said. “Therefore we expect excess weight and fat loss to become treatment targets for obesity and for treatment guidelines to adopt obesity as a primary target ahead of other associated diseases.”
All told, global obesity sales could reach $54 billion in 2030, the analysts predict.
Meanwhile, a “confluence of catalysts” is expected to begin bearing fruit over the next 6 months.
Novo Nordisk, for its part, expects to release an interim analysis from its landmark obesity study SELECT in 2022’s third quarter, which the Morgan Stanley team predicts will show that Wegovy helped deliver a reduction in the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.