Novo Nordisk announces liraglutide diabetes treatment works better than competition

PRINCETON, N.J. Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest insulin maker, said its experimental diabetes treatment improves patients’ health more than two competing medicines, Bloomberg reported.

The product, liraglutide, helped reduce blood sugar levels and weight more than GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia and Sanofi-Aventis’ Amaryl, when the drugs were taken in conjunction with a common diabetes pill, metformin,

The Danish company hopes to begin selling liraglutide in the United States and Europe in 2009, before the expiration of patents on its insulin analogues. Analogue sales grew by 29 percent in the second quarter, to account for one-third of all revenue.

In the late-stage trial against the active ingredients in Avandia and a placebo, liraglutide lowered blood sugar levels by as much as 18 percent among some patients, as measured by the amount of molecules in red blood cells that had glucose attached. Participants started with blood sugar levels of about 8.5 percent, which fell as much as 1.5 percentage points.

Patients also lost between 4 and 9 pounds, Novo Nordisk said. "We’ve been superior to Lantus and to Avandia and on par with Amaryl, and in terms of body weight, liraglutide has shown statistically significant benefits against all three drugs," Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo Nordisk’s chief science officer, told Bloomberg.

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