General Industry Update

The big news in the healthcare sector continues to be the overwhelming demand for weight loss drugs.

While both Eli Lilly & Co and Novo Nordisk have been racing to boost output of their GLP-1 weight loss therapies, Lilly made some significant gains in April in the quest to increase their manufacturing output. Lilly announced that it had acquired a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin from Nexus that will allow it to boost production of injectable diabetes and weight loss drugs by the end of 2025.¹ And in Europe, Lilly also broke ground on a plant near Frankfurt that will ship injected obesity medicines worldwide by 2027. The investment in this plant ($2.5 billion) represents the most significant pharma sector investment in Germany since reunification in 1990.²

Eli Lilly also announced robust Q1 results that saw sales surge by 26% year over year, driven by robust demand for their weight loss drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound. Zepbound alone brought in $517 million in Q1 2024, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. These drugs belong to the same class as Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, and they are anticipated to tap into a $105 billion market by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s announcement of limited supply due to increased demand, Eli Lilly raised its revenue guidance for 2024 by $2 billion, expecting between $42.4 billion and $43.6 billion this year. Eli Lilly’s net income soared by 67% in Q1, reaching $2.2 billion, and earnings per share surpassed analysts’ estimates.³

Company Specific Updates

AstraZeneca PLC

AstraZeneca announced that a combined therapy using its cancer drugs Truqap and Faslodex received a positive recommendation for European Union approval in treating adult patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer. This recommendation stems from the encouraging results of the CAPItello-291 Phase III trial, as reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In this trial, the combination of Truqap and Faslodex slashed the risk of disease progression or death by 50% compared to Faslodex alone. With breast cancer remaining a significant cause of cancer-related deaths in Europe, affecting over 550,000 new patients yearly, this recommendation signifies a potential breakthrough with widespread application. Notably, HR-positive breast cancer, the most common subtype, is involved in about 70% of breast cancer cases, with more than 97% of these being ER-positive.⁴

In April, AstraZeneca also reported strong Q1 results, including total revenue of $12.68 billion (up 19% from $10.88 billion a year earlier) and double-digit growth (26%) in total revenue from its Oncology offerings. Overall, AstraZeneca saw after-tax profit of $2.18 billion for the quarter.⁵

Pfizer Inc

Pfizer and Genmab’s cancer medicine Tivdak has secured full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. This endorsement stems from positive results in a Phase III clinical trial in which Tivdak notably enhanced overall survival, decreasing the risk of death by 30% compared to chemotherapy. Tivdak, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), combines monoclonal antibodies with potent cytotoxic drugs to target and eradicate cancer cells.

Pfizer acquired Tivdak through its purchase of Seagen in a $43 billion deal in December 2023. Initially granted accelerated approval in 2021, Tivdak’s full approval follows its submission for biologics licence application (BLA) in February 2021, which underwent priority review and received approval in September 2021.

GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center projects Tivdak to yield $1.8 billion in sales by 2030.⁶

LIFE ETF: Investing in Global Healthcare

Investing in ETFs can be one way to add cutting-edge healthcare to your portfolio.

Evolve Global Healthcare Enhanced Yield Fund (LIFE ETF) provides investors with exposure to twenty global blue-chip companies in the healthcare industry, with a covered call strategy that is actively managed to provide increased yield potential while helping mitigate risk. For more information about the Evolve Global Healthcare Enhanced Yield Fund or any of Evolve ETF’s lineup of exchange-traded funds, please visit our website or contact us.

Portfolio Strategy and Activity

For the month, AstraZeneca PLC made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Sanofi SA, and Eli Lilly & Co. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, followed by AbbVie Inc, and Johnson & Johnson.



  1. “Lilly Acquires New Injectable Medicine Manufacturing Facility from Nexus Pharmaceuticals,” Eli Lilly and Company, April 22, 2024;
  2. Alviz, L. & Kresge, N., “Lilly’s New $2.5 Billion Plant to Boost Obesity Drug Supply,” Bloomberg, April 8, 2024;
  3. Gil, B., “Weight loss drugs are so hot that Eli Lilly is expecting $2 billion more in sales this year,” Quartz, April 30, 2024;
  4. “Truqap plus Faslodex recommended for approval in the EU by CHMP for patients with advanced ER-positive breast cancer,” AstraZeneca, April 29, 2024;
  5. “AstraZeneca posts $2.18bn profit after tax in Q1 2024,” Pharmaceutical Technology, April 26, 2024;
  6. Philpott, J., “Pfizer and Genmab’s Tivdak wins full FDA approval for cervical cancer,” Pharmaceutical Technology, April 30, 2024;

Header Image Source: Getty Images Credit: Daniel Grill

The contents of this blog are not to be used or construed as investment advice or as an endorsement or recommendation of any entity or security discussed. These contents are not an offer or solicitation of an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any securities or financial instrument, nor shall it be deemed to provide investment, tax or accounting advice. The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only.
Commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with exchange traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds (funds). Please read the prospectus before investing. ETFs and mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. There are risks involved with investing in ETFs and mutual funds. Please read the prospectus for a complete description of risks relevant to ETFs and mutual funds. Investors may incur customary brokerage commissions in buying or selling ETF and mutual fund units.
Certain statements contained in this blog may constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking information may relate to a future outlook and anticipated distributions, events or results and may include statements regarding future financial performance. In some cases, forward-looking information can be identified by terms such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “intend” or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Actual results may vary from such forward-looking information. Evolve Funds undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future events or other such factors which affect this information, except as required by law.

Tags eli lilly  FDA  glp-1  healthcare  LIFE ETF  pfizer  weight loss drugs