Novo Nordisk will invest €2.1bn in French manufacturing site

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk has made another major capital investment in production capacity for its diabetes and obesity therapies, agreeing to spend €2.1 billion ($2.3 billion) on a facility in France as it struggles to meet demand.

The site in Chartres will contribute to its plan to massively increase the production of Ozempic for type 2 diabetes and obesity therapy Wegovy – based on GLP-1 agonist semaglutide – as well as other drugs that may emerge from its pipeline of drugs for metabolic disorders.

The announcement comes just days after the drugmaker said it would spend $6 billion to expand manufacturing capacity for the drugs, mainly at its main production site in Kalundborg, Denmark. It also follows a move by rival Eli Lilly to spend $2.5 billion on a facility in Germany to boost supplies of its diabetes therapy Mounjaro and Zepbound for obesity, based on GLP-1/GIP agonist tirzepatide.

Novo Nordisk said earlier this year that it would sink €130 million into the Chartres site, which employs nearly 2,000 people making pre-filled injector pens and insulin, and the new round is in addition to that commitment. Once completed, in around 2028, the upgrades will create another 500 jobs, according to the firm.

“With this, we will – over the coming years – increase our production capacity to be prepared for the increased demand for our medicines and future innovations from our pipeline,” said Novo Nordisk in a statement. The French government, meanwhile, said the new investment was a sign that national competitiveness was on the increase.

Demand for Wegovy has been so intense that it has spilled over into off-label prescribing of Ozempic, affecting Novo Nordisk’s ability to provide a stable supply of the drug for people who have been prescribed it for diabetes.

That has led the company to restrict access to lower starting doses of Ozempic in the EU and the US, and to cannibalise production capacity for older GLP-1 drug Victoza (liraglutide), which has to be dosed more frequently. Germany, meanwhile, said this week it may ban exports of the drug to preserve supplies.

In its third-quarter results update last week, Novo Nordisk reported that sales of Ozempic grew 53% to $9.4 billion in the first nine months of this year, while Wegovy was up 481% to over $3 billion. Analysts have estimated that the obesity drug market could be worth as much as $100 billion by 2030.