With Catalent sale concerns, Lilly allegedly adds GLP-1 CDMOs

Eli Lilly has inked deals with CDMOs National Resilience and BSP Pharmaceuticals for the fill/finish of GLP-1 Zepbound and Mounjaro (both tirzepatide), according to media reports.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

March 6, 2024

2 Min Read

The Financial Times reported the addition of the two contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) yesterday, citing “people briefed on the arrangements.”

Eli Lilly, when contacted by this publication, refused to confirm whether US-based National Resilience or Italy’s BSP Pharmaceuticals will now be producing tirzepatide drug product. A spokesperson said: “We utilize an extensive portfolio of external contract manufacturers to accelerate production and do not disclose details.”

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes and Zepbound for weight management are expected to drive Eli Lilly’s sales for the foreseeable future. Mounjaro pulled in sales of $5.1 billion in 2023, while Zepbound produced $176 million in six weeks, following the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in November 2023.

Securing supply for these blockbusters has been high on the agenda for both Eli Lilly and fellow GLP-1 developers, including Novo Nordisk, which reported 2023 sales from its own diabetes and weight loss semuglatide products Ozempic and Wegovy of $13.7 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.

As such, Novo Nordisk is primed to secure three fill/finish facilities for $11 billion as part of a wider $16.5 billion deal by its major shareholder Novo Holdings to acquire Catalent. The addition of sites in Bloomington (Indiana), Brussels (Belgium), and Anagni (Italy) to Novo Nordisk’s network has led to concerns from Eli Lilly, which has its own GLP-1 fill/finish contracts in place with Catalent.

“We certainly have questions about that transaction and need to learn more,” the spokesperson told us. “Catalent is an integral manufacturer of commercial and pipeline products for the industry, especially in diabetes and obesity, and we have products with these sites. Our focus is ensuring that the continuity of supply of medicines for people is uninterrupted.

“We intend to hold Catalent accountable for their contract with us as we gain more information on this proposed transaction.”

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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