Contract Drug Manufacturers Investing Billions to Meet Demand for Weight-Loss Drugs
Boom in Weight-Loss Drugs Creates Opportunity for Contract Drug Manufacturers
The market for weight-loss drugs is experiencing rapid growth, and contract drug manufacturers are seizing the opportunity by investing billions of dollars to expand their production capabilities. These manufacturers are focusing on building or expanding factories that specialize in filling injection pens used to administer treatments like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy. The demand for these drugs is expected to continue to rise, and pharmaceutical services companies are striving to secure more contracts for filling the syringes used in these pens.
Expanding Capacity to Meet Growing Demand
Contract manufacturers are eager to expand their sterile fill-finish capacity to keep up with the increasing demand for weight-loss drugs. It’s not just about Wegovy anymore – other drugs like Lilly’s Mounjaro are also on the horizon. Industry experts estimate that the market for GLP-1 agonists, a class of drugs that includes weight-loss injections, could be worth up to $100 billion within the next ten years. This has prompted companies like WuXi Biologics and Catalent to invest in pre-filled syringe capacity and build new factories to serve the growing demand.
Competition Among Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisations (CDMOs)
The race for business in the contract development and manufacturing sector began last year, with several projects worth billions of dollars being announced. Companies like Lonza, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, and Vetter are among those investing in expanding their production capabilities. With the imminent launch of Lilly’s Mounjaro and the increasing demand for Novo’s Wegovy, the competition is intensifying. Thermo Fisher, a partner of Novo, is even converting facilities originally used for COVID-19 vaccine production to handle pens for obesity and diabetes medicines.
Shortages and Future Growth
Despite the efforts to expand production capacity, shortages of weight-loss drugs are expected to persist into next year. Big pharmaceutical companies like Novo and Lilly are also increasing their internal production capabilities but still rely on CDMOs to meet the demand. The fill-finish market, which includes the production of syringes, is projected to more than double in value by 2027. The demand for weight-loss drugs is driving this growth, and it is expected to offset the decline in COVID-19 vaccine contracts. Additionally, the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act is boosting the development of biologic drugs, further driving the demand for injectables.
Leading Players in the Market
Catalent and Thermo Fisher are currently leading the market due to their existing capabilities in weight-loss drug production. However, other companies like Lonza and WuXi Biologics are investing heavily to catch up. Despite quality issues reported at Catalent’s Brussels factory, they remain dominant in the market. The scramble for production capacity is unlikely to result in a surplus, as contract development and manufacturing organizations strategically plan their expansion to meet long-term demand.
By keeping up with the latest medical breakthroughs and healthcare trends, contract drug manufacturers are positioning themselves for success in the growing weight-loss drug market. Their investments in expanding production capabilities will not only meet the current demand but also contribute to the future growth of the industry.