The CDMO/CMO & Suppliers’ Report: The Rising Strength of Tides

Double-digit growth is projected for the markets for peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis, creating opportunities for CDMOs/CMOs.

Double-digit growth is projected for the markets for peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis, creating opportunities for CDMOs/CMOs & suppliers that specialize in these areas. Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic/Wegovy and Lilly’s Mounjaro/Zepbound, blockbusters for diabetes and obesity, are setting the high mark for peptide drugs as the increasing use of synthesized oligos in therapeutics and a growing focus on personalized medicine drive growth in oligonucleotides.

By Patricia Van Arnum, Editorial Director, DCAT, 

Market growth
The market outlook for the peptide synthesis is strong. The market is projected to increase from $90.1 billion in 2023 to $157.5 billion by the end of 2028, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% from 2023 through 2028, according to a recent analysis by BCC Research, a Boston, Massachusetts based business intelligence firm.

The market for peptide synthesis is being driven by increased demand for peptide-based drugs. Notable contributors are certain glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists, which can be used to treat Type 2 diabetes and for weight management, which are a rising class of blockbuster drugs (defined as drugs with sales of $1 billion or more).

Leading the charge in the GLP-1 market are peptide-based drugs by Eli Lilly and Company and Novo Nordisk, each with blockbusters. Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic (semaglutide), for treating Type 2 diabetes, posted  2023 sales of DKK 95,718 million ($13.8 billion). Ozempic’s peptide backbone is produced by yeast fermentation. Semaglutide is also the active ingredient in Wegovy, Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster drug for treating obesity. Lilly’s Mounjaro (tirzepatide), another peptide-based drug, posted 2023 sales of $5.16 billion. Mounjaro is a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 receptor agonist. It was approved in the US for treating Type 2 diabetes in 2022, and in 2023, the same active ingredient, tirzepatide, was approved in the US for treating chronic weight management under the brand name, Zepbound. Mounjaro is a 39-amino-acid modified peptide based on the GIP sequence. Tirzepatide contains 2 non-coded amino acids, a C-terminal amide, and Lys residue that is attached to 1,20-eicosanedioic acid via a linker.

Overall, the GLP-1 agonist market is poised for strong growth, with a CAGR of 19.2% from 2023 to 2029, reaching a market size of $105 billion in 2029, according to estimates (as of March 6, 2024) by GlobalData, a market research and business intelligence firm. It points to five key drugs: Lilly’s Mounjaro and four drugs by Novo Nordisk—Ozempic, Wegovy, CagriSema (semaglutide and cagrilintide) (now in late-stage development), and Rybelsus (semaglutide) (Rybelsus is an oral version of semaglutide; Ozempic and Wegovy are injection-based delivery of semaglutide)—which collectively are forecast to capture 83% of the GLP-1 agonist market by 2029. Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro is expected to lead in sales, with projected 2029 sales of $33.4 billion, according to estimates by GlobalData.  With a large portfolio of products of GLP-1 drugs, Novo Nordisk is expected to capture 55% of the market share in 2029.

Other tide strength
Although a niche sector, the market outlook for oligonucleotides, synthesized pieces of chemically modified RNA or DNA, is strong. The global oligonucleotide synthesis market is expected to grow from $7.0 billion in 2023 and to reach $11.7 billion by the end of 2028, representing a CAGR of 11.0% from 2023 through 2028, according to BCC Research. The market for oligonucleotide synthesis consists of four main product types: oligonucleotide drugs, synthesized oligos, equipment and reagents, and services. On a drug level, market growth is led by increased use of synthesized oligos in therapeutic applications and the overall trend to more focused target/precision medicines.

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