New ground for Novo: Denmark's largest company just keeps getting bigger

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Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharma company responsible for Ozempic and Wegovy — two of the buzziest drugs in the weight loss game — has been bulking up, with its market cap. recently crossing the $400 billion threshold, surpassing Denmark’s annual GDP.

With sales up 30%, net profit rising 43%, and supply restrictions still in place for its most popular medication, Novo unsurprisingly raised its outlook for 2023 in its report earlier this month, as demand for the company’s “wonder drugs” continues to rise.

Very good shape

The drug maker’s ascent has been meteoric, especially for a company celebrating its 100th birthday in a few months. The hype around its two flagship treatments — which both trace back to the 2012 development of semaglitude, designed to tackle type 2 diabetes — has catapulted Novo Nordisk to second on the list of Europe’s most valuable public companies, only behind luxury fashion giant LVMH. For another sense of scale, Novo is now worth a similar amount to McDonald's and Netflix combined.

The company's become so large, the government in Denmark — a nation of fewer than 6 million people — is considering publishing separate economic statistics that strip out the “Novo effect”. The pharma giant’s success comes at a good time for Denmark after one of the country’s other iconic brands, Lego, suffered a rare misstep and recorded its largest profit drop for almost 2 decades.

Go deeper: We explored the burgeoning world of weight loss in a deep dive in July.

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