Novo Nordisk is taking great efforts to stretch the profit-earning potential of its blockbuster type 2 diabetes drug Victoza. The company won approval to market the drug as an obesity treatment under the brand name Saxenda, and has launched clinical trials to test the drug as a treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease.
Now the company is taking aim at its competitors in the lucrative diabetes market, rolling out a new meta-analysis showing that Victoza was superior at reducing blood sugar metric HbA1c (a more accurate test for diabetes control) compared to drugs in a class known as SGLT2 inhibitors. The analysis, presented at the World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver, involved 17 controlled trials that suggested that patients taking Victoza were more likely to hit their blood-sugar goals.
SGLT2 inhibitors are comparatively new to the market and include the brand names Invokana, Farxiga and Jardiance. Recently, studies indicated that Jardiance helped protect patients against cardiovascular risks, and researchers speculated that this benefit could likely be seen with other drugs in the class. But SGLT2 inhibitors have also been plagued with new and troubling side effects including bone fractures and bone density loss, ketoacidosis, and severe urinary tract infections.
Novo Nordisk was quick on its toes to present its new efficacy data with Victoza, and is also conducting trials to see if the drug can offer any cardiovascular benefits. But even so, the drug will have to overcome its own bad press.
Victoza, like similar type 2 diabetes medications Byetta and Januvia, have been linked to a painful inflammation of the pancreas known as acute pancreatitis. These drugs have also been linked to pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.
Source: Fierce Pharma Marketing