There is fierce competition among pharmaceutical companies to develop diabetes treatments to boost the body’s ability to produce insulin. Novo Nordisk has long been working toward developing a new once-weekly treatment that the company hopes will help a stressed pancreas do its job. Clinical data continues to be favorable that this treatment performs as Novo Nordisk officials had hoped.
Most recently, FiercePharma reported of the favorable results of an advanced Phase IIIa clinical trial of semaglutide, a once-weekly injectable. That trial helped participants achieve improved A1C levels between 1.5% and 1.6%, as well as measurably better weight loss when compared to a placebo. Overall, nearly three-quarters of the study group, who started with a baseline A1C of 8.1 met American Diabetes Association recommended A1c targets in the 6.5 to 7 range by the end of the study.
Semaglutide is part of a drug class called GLP-1 agonists, which slow the process of gastric emptying, thereby extending the feeling of fullness. Novo’s injectible Victoza GLP-1 has held a dominant share of the injectable GLP-1 market since its introduction in 2010. With the new once-weekly drug, Novo officials hope to overcome the noted side-effects of Victoza, including gastric distress and risk of pancreatitis, believed to be brought on by daily dosage requirements. Additionally, some GLP-1 inhibitors are under scrutiny by regulators due to possible cardiovascular complications and risk of thyroid cancer.