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Pharma Stock Roundup: NVO & LLY to Expand Manufacturing Capacity in Europe, & More

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This week, Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) said it will build a $2.5 billion plant in Germany to meet the growing demand for its diabetes and obesity products. Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) plans to invest $2.3 billion to expand existing production facilities in Charles, France. Merck (MRK - Free Report) announced a definitive agreement to acquire pre-clinical stage private biotech Caraway Therapeutics to strengthen its neuroscience portfolio. J&J (JNJ - Free Report) filed a supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) seeking approval for the expanded use of its drug Rybrevant in lung cancer.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

Lilly to Build New Manufacturing Site in Germany: Lilly plans to increase its manufacturing capacity of injectable products by constructing a new $2.5 billion high-tech manufacturing site in Alzey, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The new manufacturing facility is expected to support increased demand for its medicines like its diabetes medicine, Mounjaro and potential obesity medicines.

Mounjaro was approved for obesity by the name of Zepbound in the United States in November. However, Lilly is experiencing delays in fulfilling orders of Mounjaro due to supply shortages, as the demand for the successful product is significant. With the addition of this facility, Lilly will have six manufacturing facilities in Europe. Management intends to start construction of the facility next year and expects it to be operational beginning in 2027.

Novo Nordisk Plans to Expand France Manufacturing Site: Novo Nordisk is making an investment of around 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to expand its existing production site in Chartres, France. The expansion will increase the site’s manufacturing capacity, including capacity for GLP-1 products, like diabetes medicine Ozempic and obesity injection Wegovy. This is expected to allow Novo Nordisk to meet the rising demand for these GLP-1 products.

The investments include adding aseptic production and finished production processes and an extension of the current Quality Control Laboratory. The expanded capacity will more than double the site’s footprint and is expected to create more than 500 new jobs. The construction work to expand capacity has already started, per Novo Nordisk.

Merck’s New M&A Deal: Merck announced a deal to acquire Caraway Therapeutics for a total potential consideration of up to $610 million. Caraway Therapeutics, a pre-clinical stage private biotech, makes medicines for genetically defined neurodegenerative and rare diseases through innovative mechanisms of action. Merck has been a shareholder in Caraway Therapeutics since 2018 through its MRL Ventures Fund. The board of directors of Caraway Therapeutics has already approved the deal.

J&J Files sBLA Seeking Expanded Use of Rybrevant: J&J has filed a sBLA seeking approval of Rybrevant (amivantamab) plus chemotherapy (carboplatin and pemetrexed) as a treatment in EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”) in patients who progressed after treatment with AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso (osimertinib). The sBLA is based on data from the MARIPOSA-2 study. Data from the study showed that treatment with Rybrevant led to a significant improvement in the primary endpoint of progression-free survival, compared to chemotherapy alone, in patients with EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC following prior osimertinib therapy.

At present, Rybrevant is approved (accelerated approval) for locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy.

The NYSE ARCA Pharmaceutical Index rose 1.83% in the last five trading sessions.

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Here’s how the eight major stocks performed in the last five trading sessions.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

In the last five trading sessions, all the stocks were in the green, with Novo Nordisk rising the most (7.1%).

In the past six months, Lilly has risen the most (39.7%), while Pfizer has declined the most (21.5%).

(See the last pharma stock roundup here: FDA Okays AZN’s Capivasertib & MRK’s Keytruda Expanded Use)

What's Next in the Pharma World?

Watch out for pipeline and regulatory updates next week.

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