Novo Nordisk Ponders US Plant to Make Oral Therapy

Semaglutide is currently available as an injectible only, but the company is working on a once-daily pill form.

The world’s largest maker of insulin told Bloomberg today that it is weighing whether to build a plant in the United States to make an oral version of semaglutide, a GLP-1 therapy to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

The move would target the expected demand for treatments for T2DM in the United States as the epidemic here continues and the population here ages. It would also protect the Danish drugmaker against fluctuations in the US dollar, according to the report.

Last month, Novo Nordisk announced it had achieved successful phase 3a results with the injectable version of semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide analogue administered once weekly. The company is also developing an oral version, and the report said that if successful it would be one of several therapies that would “revolutionize” the drugmaker.

A decision on whether to build a plant in the United States would depend on whether oral semaglutide were approved and sold in this country, Novo Nordisk A/S Chief Executive Officer Lars Rebien Soerensen told Bloomberg.

The company has existing facilities in North Carolina and New Hampshire but declined to say whether a new plant would be built in those states or elsewhere. According to the company, its plant in Kalundborg, Denmark, employs 2800 people and makes insulin for half the world’s diabetics.