Express Pharma

India is a key market for the company’s global plans

Vikrant Shrotriya, CVP & MD, Novo Nordisk India in an interaction with Express Pharma growth opportunities in pharma sector and company’s priority areas of growth in India

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Tell us about the growth opportunities opening up in the pharma sector, globally. How is Novo Nordisk poised to leverage them? What are your current and future areas of focus? Why?

The pharma sector continues to present significant growth opportunities globally. Several factors contribute to this positive outlook, including increasing global healthcare expenditure, population aging, rising chronic diseases, technological advancements, and expanding access to healthcare in emerging markets. Research and Development (R&D) Advancements in molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, and other fields are driving innovation in drug discovery and development. Targeted therapies, precision medicine, and personalised treatments are gaining prominence, presenting opportunities for pharma companies to develop novel and more effective drugs.

Today, chronic disorders have gained prominence. At Novo Nordisk, we are dedicated to tackling chronic diseases by driving change in diabetes, obesity, rare diseases- haemophilia, growth hormone deficiency, etc., cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH),and more. We are doing this by raising the innovation bar, harnessing the power of scientific excellence, and developing a leading portfolio of superior treatment solutions.

Can you tell us about Novo Nordisk’s priority areas of growth in India in the times to come?

Simplifying diabetes care, awareness around obesity and related complications, CVDs and rare diseases like haemophilia continue to be the focus areas for the Indian market. As a leading pharma company in India, Novo Nordisk India is dedicatedly working on three major aspects to shape a holistic healthcare ecosystem for the nation:

  • Awareness (improved disease awareness and continuous dialogue with healthcare professionals and policymakers),
  • Access (a bottom-up approach to enable early detection and a state-specific action-oriented approach starting at the grassroot level)
  • Advancement (R&D and innovation for new and simplified product and therapy development addressing specific patient needs)

How important is India in the company’s global strategy? What are the growth plans of the company for the next three years? What is the roadmap to achieve them?

India is a key market for the company’s global plans. In terms of diabetes alone, India houses over 100 million people living with diabetes.[1] This is expected to grow to over 125 million by 2045.[2] Additionally, the number of people living with obesity in India is likely to be around 160 million by 2030.[3] These figures are alarming and underline the need for robust solutions, tailored to the needs of Indian population.

The company is planning on launching two important products in the coming years-

  • potentially the world’s first once-weekly basal insulin icodec for type 2 diabetes care
  • once-weekly injectable for obesity, Wegovy

How has diabetes care advanced? Can you share some key learnings from your expertise in diabetes drug discovery and development?
Over the last 100 years, Novo Nordisk has been part of an advancement journey for diabetes care. Ever since the discovery of insulin, there have been consistent efforts to bring insulin treatment as close to normal physiological levels as possible. Today, we can proudly say that new generation insulins mimic normal physiology to an extent that a person living with diabetes can live a diabetes-free life. Moreover, the introduction of GLP-1 RA in diabetes therapy has brought another significant development in diabetes care.

It is important to acknowledge some pressing unmet needs. These comprise adherence to treatment regimen, initiation of insulin therapy, regular monitoring of glucose levels, fear of needles, etc. At Novo Nordisk, we are working on developing solutions that cater to these needs and help simplify diabetes care for people, without disrupting their lifestyle.

In this direction, we are developing revolutionary solutions for type 2 diabetes care-

  • Insulin Icodec: potentially the world’s first once-weekly basal insulin. It has the potential to reduce treatment burden and to improve adherence via the once-weekly administration.
  • Cagrisema: a fixed-dose combination investigational drug that combines cagrilintide and semaglutide. In Phase 2 studies, it has shown greater HbA1c reduction compared to semaglutide or cagrilintide alone.

References

[1]Metabolic non-communicable disease health report of India: the ICMR-INDIAB national cross-sectional study (ICMR-INDIAB-17) – The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

[2]Facts & figures – International Diabetes Federation (idf.org)

[3]World Obesity Atlas 2023

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