Our company's strong commercial performance against a backdrop of
continued disruption caused by the pandemic would not have been
possible without the resilience and collaborative spirit shown by
colleagues across the organisation and our many partners.
This momentum was driven by our portfolio of GLP-1 based therapies
where buoyant demand for our semaglutide-based medicines
Ozempic® and Rybelsus® contributed to a total
GLP-1 growth of 28% in 2021, thereby strengthening our global
leadership in diabetes in the process.
Such was the demand in the US for another semaglutide product
Wegovy®, that five weeks after launch, as many
prescriptions were written for the medication as in the four years
that followed the launch of its predecessor Saxenda®. This
underscored the high unmet need among people living with obesity but
also presented initial challenges for us in supply capacity -
exacerbated when a key partner experienced issue with Good
Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in December.
Whilst we continue to focus on providing treatment to
already-initiated patients, we are taking steps within our global
production to enable us to fully meet US demand in the second half of
this year and to enable much-anticipated launches in broader markets.
Importantly, we continue to reach more patients in need around the
world. Our Changing Diabetes® in Children partnership, for
example, has provided free, holistic diabetes care to nearly 32,000
children and adolescents living with type 1 diabetes in low-, and
middle-income countries. Our diabetes products now reach 34.6 million
people worldwide, with more than 5 million receiving them through our
access and affordability programmes.
We are also doing more than ever to mitigate our impact on the
environment, with a 43% reduction in CO2 emissions compared
to pre-pandemic, and an action plan to drive emissions down further in
transportation, which is our largest residual source of
CO2. This includes converting our fleet of cars to electric
vehicles, as well as working with a shipping partner to increasingly
transport our products using biofuel.
We have bold ambitions to diversify our product pipeline into
adjacent therapy areas such as NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
and cardiovascular disease, where we believe we can be among the best
in the world. Our collaboration with Heartseed for stem cell-based
heart failure therapy reflects these efforts and we expect to take a
significant step forward by initiating the first human trials this
Our acquisition of Dicerna, which develops RNAi-based therapies to
selectively silence genes that cause or contribute to disease,
demonstrates our ambition to innovate within both established and new
therapy areas for Novo Nordisk. Our commitment to achieving further
breakthroughs within diabetes remains as strong as ever. Driving this
innovation requires creativity - something I am convinced is fostered
through inclusion. To enable this, we are making Novo Nordisk a more
diverse and inclusive workplace in which both new and long-serving
employees have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
I would like to thank all my colleagues around the globe for their
hard work and commitment during another demanding year, as well as the
Board of Directors and our shareholders for their continued support.
Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen
President & Chief