General Industry Update

Weight-loss and obesity-fighting drugs continue to be a huge driver in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, demand for Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, already surging due to their weight-loss benefits, could climb even higher as these drugs show promise in treating other significant health conditions.

A recent trial involving over 3,500 participants with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease revealed that semaglutide, the active ingredient in both drugs, significantly reduced the risk of kidney disease-related events by 24% while also slowing kidney function decline and reducing mortality risk. These promising results have prompted Novo Nordisk to seek FDA approval to expand Ozempic’s label to include chronic kidney disease treatment, potentially broadening its usage.¹

The trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that Ozempic could address complex medical needs by treating both diabetes and CKD, potentially capturing a significant share of the projected $19.2 billion CKD market by 2030. The study’s long-term data supports the drug’s efficacy and tolerability, bolstering the likelihood of FDA approval for this new indication.²

In the first quarter of 2024, Novo Nordisk reported a 24% increase in net sales, driven by a 107% revenue growth for Wegovy and a 43% rise for Ozempic. As the company expands its treatment applications and scales up production, these figures are poised to escalate further in the coming years.³

With additional late-stage trials exploring semaglutide for other conditions like Alzheimer’s and cardiometabolic diseases, Novo Nordisk’s stock is poised for continued growth.⁴

Company Specific Updates

Eli Lilly & Co

Eli Lilly’s weight-loss drug, Mounjaro, may soon see broader access in the UK compared to Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy. Draft guidance from the UK’s drug cost regulator recommends Mounjaro for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater and one weight-related co-morbidity. It also suggests the drug for lower BMI thresholds in certain ethnic groups.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) highlighted that Mounjaro could be more effective than Wegovy when combined with diet and exercise. The guidance is still in draft form and subject to consultation, but if confirmed, it could make weight-loss drugs more accessible and affordable for many patients.⁵

At the same time, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks revealed that the company is already working on a successor to Mounjaro and Zepbound, with high hopes for a new drug called retatrutide, now in phase 3 trials. Ricks emphasized that retatrutide could surpass tirzepatide (the active ingredient in Mounjaro) in effectiveness, particularly against challenging forms of obesity, including visceral fat and liver obesity.

Reflecting on past experiences, Ricks noted that Lilly learned valuable lessons from losing its market edge with the antidepressant Prozac after its patent expired in 2001. Determined not to repeat history, Eli Lilly has nine obesity and diabetes drugs currently in development, aiming to stay ahead in the fiercely competitive GLP-1 drugs market.⁶

Intuitive Surgical Inc

Intuitive Surgical has received FDA clearance for revised labelling of its da Vinci X and da Vinci Xi systems, affirming the effectiveness of robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. The update, based on data from 2007 to 2014, shows that long-term cancer survival rates for patients undergoing robotic prostatectomies are comparable to those of traditional open surgery.

This decision follows a collaborative effort involving Intuitive, the FDA, healthcare analytics firm Aetion, and the National Evaluation System for Health Technology (NEST). The collaboration aimed to validate the real-world evidence used in the labelling revision, highlighting the potential for such partnerships to enhance regulatory processes and support high-quality evidence for other cancer procedures.

Intuitive’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Myriam Curet, emphasized the benefits of robotic surgery, including shorter hospital stays, fewer surgical conversions, and reduced blood loss. She noted that the FDA’s clearance underscores the non-inferiority of the da Vinci system in ensuring ten-year survival rates for patients undergoing radical prostatectomy. This milestone not only reinforces the value of robotic-assisted surgery but also sets a precedent for future regulatory evaluations of long-term outcomes in robotic-assisted surgery cancer treatments.⁷

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, Eli Lilly & Co made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Intuitive Surgical Inc and Roche Holding AG. The largest detractors to performance for the month were EssilorLuxottica SA, followed by Danaher Corp and Pfizer Inc.



  1. Jagielski, D., “Here’s Why Demand for Ozempic and Wegovy Could Soar Even Higher,” Yahoo Finance, June 8, 2024;
  2. Carchidi, A., “Ozempic Just Got Even More Bullish For Novo Nordisk Stock, Yet Again,” The Motley Fool, June 6, 2024;
  3. Jagielski, D., “Here’s Why Demand for Ozempic and Wegovy Could Soar Even Higher,” Yahoo Finance, June 8, 2024;
  4. Carchidi, A., “Ozempic Just Got Even More Bullish For Novo Nordisk Stock, Yet Again,” The Motley Fool, June 6, 2024;
  5. Furlong, A., “Britain Poised to Favor Lilly’s Weight-Loss Drug Over Novo’s,” Bloomberg, June 4, 2024;
  6. Gil, B., “Eli Lilly wants to replace Zepbound with an even stronger weight loss drug,” QZ, June 14, 2024;
  7. “Intuitive Announces FDA Clearance of Revised da Vinci Xi and X Labeling on Radical Prostatectomy,” Intuitive Surgical, June 5, 2024;

Header image source: Getty Images Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Science

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Tags drugs  eli lilly  FDA  healthcare  LIFE ETF  Novo Nordisk  semaglutide