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A spending frenzy on obesity drugs

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Good morning! Today we have some developments about Novo Nordisk’s insulin business, a side of the company that people don’t really talk about anymore, and some news about their GLP-1 business, a side that people can’t stop talking about.

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The need-to-know this morning

  • A quick rundown of Biogen’s first quarter earnings: Skyclarys sales of $78 million beat expectations and should assuage concerns about a slow commercial launch. Leqembi sales of $19 million were also better than the lowered expectations, with a “significant increase” in new patient starts seen in March. Adjusted earnings were $3.67 on total revenue of $2.29 billion. Biogen reaffirmed its 2024 guidance.
  • Roche also reported first quarter earnings. In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO Thomas Schinecker said Roche is “open to potential mergers and larger acquisition transactions” to boosts its cardiovascular, metabolism disorders, neuroscience, and oncology portfolios.

Novo’s move to pull an insulin highlights a policy gap

About a year ago, Novo Nordisk announced that it would cut the price of several insulin products by up to 75%. But then several months later, it decided to discontinue one of those products, the basal insulin Levemir.

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