A coffee machine emblazoned with the Novo Nordisk logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 5, 2020. REUTERS / Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen / File Photo

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COPENHAGEN, December 20 (Reuters) – Shares of Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) fell 16% on Monday after the Danish drug maker was hit by supply issues in the United States for its new anti-cancer drug. obesity as he seeks to gain a foothold in the market ahead of the launch of a rival drug by Eli Lilly.

The obesity market has proven difficult for pharmaceutical companies, but Novo has made a breakthrough with its drug Wegovy. The company hopes the drug, which achieves an average weight loss of 17% over nearly two years, will offset the increasing pressure on its core business, insulin. Read more

In a stock announcement after the market closed on Friday, Novo said a contract manufacturer filling pen syringes to inject the drug had temporarily halted shipments and manufacturing after problems with good manufacturing practices.

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The Danish drug maker was already facing distinct supply constraints after being “overwhelmed” by the initial absorption of the drug. Read more

As a result, fewer new patients will start treatment with the drug in the first half of next year. Novo now hopes to be able to meet US demand in the second half of next year, having previously estimated it would do so at the start of the year.

“Of course, it is very painful not to be able to meet this level of demand,” Novo CFO Karsten Munk Knudsen told investors on Monday.

Novo declined to name the subcontractor, but said the issues were with a European site of a large international company. The two sides are in daily dialogue and Novo said he believed the subcontractor had a “good plan in place”.

Analysts at JP Morgan, who downgraded its Novo Nordisk rating to neutral on Monday, said supply issues would also give it less time to bring the drug to market ahead of the 2024 launch of Eli Lilly’s drug tirzepatide. (LLY.N) for obesity. .

“There should be enough space for the two agents in the market,” Knudsen said of Novo.

Shares of the company were down around 10.5% as of 9:49 am GMT, after closing Friday with a 76% gain since the start of the year.

Novo said the news does not affect his outlook for 2021 and will provide his outlook for next year in conjunction with annual results on February 2.

Last month, he predicted that sales growth would slow by about 3% in 2022 due to lower prices and lower sales volumes of insulin in China. Read more

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen Editing by David Goodman

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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