Novo Nordisk's Rybelsus, the first oral GLP-1 in type 2 diabetes, is back on solid ground after the pandemic, and now looking to the future in obesity. (Credit: Shutterstock)

How No­vo Nordisk’s Ry­bel­sus went from pan­dem­ic washout to block­buster, and what’s next for oral weight loss

No­vo Nordisk’s Ry­bel­sus pill was long ex­pect­ed to be a hit out of the gate.

The Dan­ish drug­mak­er cashed in a pri­or­i­ty re­view vouch­er in ear­ly 2019 for what would be the first oral GLP-1, primed by pos­i­tive stud­ies show­ing re­duced blood sug­ar in pa­tients with type 2 di­a­betes. An­a­lysts and com­pa­ny in­sid­ers an­tic­i­pat­ed block­buster sta­tus for the oral ver­sion of semaglu­tide, with peak sales ex­pect­ed to hit up to $5 bil­lion — and po­ten­tial­ly fol­low the tra­jec­to­ry of its sib­ling in­jectable Ozem­pic, which reached $1.6 bil­lion in sales in less than two years.

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