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Dialysis firms gain as Ozempic kidney trial data disappoints

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LA Post: Dialysis firms gain as Ozempic kidney trial data disappoints
March 05, 2024

(Reuters) - Shares of dialysis services providers jumped in early trading on Tuesday after Novo Nordisk's popular diabetes drug Ozempic fell short of some expectations when tested on patients with chronic kidney disease.

Colorado-based DaVita rose 7.4%, while the U.S.-listed shares of rival Fresenius Medical were up 9.5% in early trading. Baxter International, which provides dialysis operations through its kidney care unit, gained 3%.

The stocks of dialysis firms had tumbled after Novo announced last year that Ozempic showed early signs of success in delaying the progression of kidney disease in diabetes patients.

The latest data showed that Novo's Ozempic delayed progression of chronic kidney disease in diabetes patients in a late-stage study and cut the risk of major cardiac events and death by 24%, which at least two analysts said was slightly below some investors' expectations.

However, both DaVita and the German rival Fresenius have downplayed concerns over GLP-1 drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy that have shown dramatic improvement in obesity and diabetes, shrinking the market for kidney care.

"We see 24% as at the low end of expectations - that is, there were some fears out there that the impact could have been higher," J.P.Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus said, adding that this could be contributing to the relief in Fresenius' shares.

U.S.-listed shares of the Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk fell 1.2%. The stock has gained 23.7% so far this year on surging demand for its highly effective diabetes and weight-loss drugs.

The potential for GLP-1s to treat health problems beyond diabetes and obesity has also hit shares in bariatric surgery providers, food firms and glucose-monitoring device makers.

(Reporting by Pratik Jain and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)


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