Germany's Fresenius and its dialysis-care business Fresenius Medical Care experienced a significant decline in their stock prices after Novo Nordisk announced the early termination of a trial designed to treat kidney failure in diabetes patients. The trial showed promising early results, leading to speculation that it could potentially reduce the number of dialysis patients.
As of 0920 GMT, Fresenius Medical Care shares were trading 19% lower at EUR32.10, while shares of Fresenius, which holds approximately 32% of Fresenius Medical Care, were down 12% at EUR24.43.
Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical giant known for its blockbuster weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, made the decision to halt the trial based on a recommendation from an independent data monitoring committee. The trial, initiated in 2019, aimed to study the progression of kidney impairment, as well as the risk of renal and cardiovascular mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Both Ozempic and Wegovy contain the active ingredient semaglutide, which initially gained popularity as a treatment for diabetes but has since become widely used for weight loss. The drug functions by mimicking a gut hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
While the repercussions remain uncertain, it is clear that Novo Nordisk's decision has created a significant stir in the medical community and has had immediate consequences for Fresenius and Fresenius Medical Care.