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New research on Wegovy

On Aug. 8, Novo Nordisk announced that new research shows weekly injections of Wegovy reduced the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 20% compared to a placebo group. The study involved over 17,000 participants aged 45 and up who were overweight or obese with established cardiovascular disease but no history of diabetes. It’s important to note, however, this data was released by the drugmaker itself and the full study has yet to be released in a peer-reviewed publication.

But a separate study published within a week of Novo Nordisk’s announcement appears to complement the drugmaker’s claims. Research out of the University of California, Irvine (UCI), published in the journal Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy on Aug. 14, indicates the use of Wegovy could result in 43 million fewer people with obesity in the U.S. and prevent up to 1.5 million cardiovascular events over a 10-year period. Results were based on an analysis of Novo Nordisk’s STEP 1 semaglutide trial in 2021. Notably, the lead author of the UCI study receives funding from Novo Nordisk.

Meanwhile, Wall Street seems optimistic about the outlook for this class of drugs.

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Novo Nordisk stock

Novo Nordisk stock jumped 18% on Aug. 8, the day the company made its announcement, and its market capitalization is currently around $425 billion. By comparison, Denmark’s GDP in 2022 was $395 billion.

Overall, Novo Nordisk’s market value has more than doubled since Wegovy received FDA approval in June 2021.

Wegovy is thus far the only semaglutide medication approved for weight management. The much-discussed Ozempic, also manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is approved only for diabetes treatment, though some celebrities have claimed in recent months to use it for weight loss.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed against Novo Nordisk and another drugmaker, Eli Lilly and Company, which produces its own diabetes drug, Mounjaro, known to be used off-label for weight loss. The suit claims the drugmakers failed to inform patients that the drugs could potentially cause gastrointestinal events, including stomach paralysis.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.


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