No­vo CEO Lars Fruer­gaard Jør­gensen on R&D risk, the deal strat­e­gy and tar­gets for gen­der di­ver­si­ty


I kicked off our Eu­ro­pean R&D sum­mit last week with a con­ver­sa­tion in­volv­ing No­vo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruer­gaard Jør­gensen. No­vo is aim­ing to launch a new era of obe­si­ty man­age­ment with a new ap­proval for semaglu­tide. And Jør­gensen had a lot to say about what comes next in R&D, how they man­age risk and gen­der di­ver­si­ty tar­gets at the trend­set­ting Eu­ro­pean phar­ma gi­ant.

John Car­roll: I’m here with Lars Jør­gensen, the CEO of No­vo Nordisk. Lars, it’s been a re­al­ly in­ter­est­ing year so far with No­vo Nordisk, right? You’ve pro­ject­ed a new era of grow­ing sales. You’ve been able to ex­pand on the GLP-1 fran­chise that was al­ready well es­tab­lished in di­a­betes now go­ing in­to obe­si­ty. And I think a tremen­dous num­ber of peo­ple are re­al­ly in­ter­est­ed in how that’s work­ing out. You have fore­cast a grow­ing amount of sales. We don’t know specif­i­cal­ly how that might play out. I know a lot of the an­a­lysts have dif­fer­ent ideas, how those num­bers might play out, but that we are in fact em­bark­ing on a new era for No­vo Nordisk in terms of what the com­pa­ny’s ca­pa­ble of do­ing and what it’s able to do and what it wants to do. And I want­ed to start off by ask­ing you about obe­si­ty in par­tic­u­lar. Semaglu­tide has been ap­proved in the Unit­ed States for obe­si­ty. It’s an area of R&D that’s been very trou­bled for decades. There have been weight loss drugs that have come along. They’ve at­tract­ed a lot of at­ten­tion, but they haven’t ac­tu­al­ly ever gained trac­tion in the mar­ket. My first ques­tion is what’s dif­fer­ent this time about obe­si­ty? What is dif­fer­ent about this drug and why do you ex­pect it to work now where­as pre­vi­ous drugs haven’t?

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