Danish pharmaceutical invests €2.1 billion in France


On Thursday, Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk announced a major investment in a French production site to expand the capacity and manufacturing of a blockbuster anti-obesity drug.

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On Thursday, Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk announced a major investment in a French production site to expand the capacity and manufacturing of a blockbuster anti-obesity drug.

In a deal sealed officially with President Emmanuel Macron, Novo Nordisk said it will invest more than 15 billion Danish kroner (€2.1 billion) in an existing facility in Chartres, southwest of Paris.

The investment “will significantly increase the capacity of the manufacturing site” to meet the demand for “innovative medicines”, the company said.

Valued at $460 billion (€421 billion), Novo Nordisk is the European Union’s most valuable company, thanks to the growing use of its anti-diabetes drugs as weight-loss derivatives.

The Danish company has found that its Semaglutide medication, originally meant for diabetes, is also effective against obesity, giving it massive global potential.

Marketed as Wegovy in the United States, Denmark, Norway, and Germany, the drug helps chronically overweight patients by stimulating insulin secretion and acting as an appetite suppressant.

Goldman Sachs, a financial firm, predicted last month that the global market for anti-obesity medication (AOM) could grow to $100 billion (€91.5 billion) by 2030. It’s currently valued at just under six billion (€5.5 billion).

Obesity rates have almost tripled around the world since 1975, and are set to rise further, it said.

In the United States alone, 15 million adults were likely to receive anti-obesity treatment by 2030, Goldman said. Novo Nordisk and rival Eli Lilly could be the world’s two dominant AOM makers by then, he continued.

Novo Nordisk will double the size of its French site, adding 500 jobs to the 1,600 already there. The investments concern the production of diabetes drugs, cartridges, and vials, it said, with a 2028 target date for completion.

Novo Nordisk already said this month it was investing 42 billion Danish kroner (€55 billion) to expand its facilities in Denmark.

The French presidency credited Macron’s drive to attract foreign industrial investment to France for the Novo deal.

“This is one of the biggest industrial investments for our country this year,” Macron said after touring the site.

Such investments were “at the heart of the industrial and health sector sovereignty that we seek,” he said.

The Novo Nordisk deal follows a €6.7 billion pledge for the production and recycling of electric batteries by Asian firms.

An investment of €500 million by Pzifer, a US pharmaceutical company, was announced in May during a “Choose France” investment conference hosted by Macron.

Stung by recent drug shortages in France, including for basic antibiotics and pain medicine paracetamol, the government has been keen to bring pharmaceutical production back to the country.

Novo Nordisk said it hopes to win full regulatory approval to sell Wegovy as an anti-obesity drug in France next year.



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