PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk drug produces significant weight loss in study

BY Alaric DeArment

BAGSVÆRD, Denmark — A drug made by Novo Nordisk for Type 2 diabetes produced a 6% loss of weight in a trial of the drug in obese patients, the company said.

The Danish drug maker announced results of a 56-week phase-3 trial to investigate the potential of Victoza (liraglutide) to produce and maintain weight loss in overweight and obese patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The trial enrolled 846 overweight and obese people who received 3 mg of Victoza, 1.8 mg of Victoza or placebo. Patients were followed for 12 weeks after the study ended at 56 weeks. Patients treated with the 3-mg and 1.8-mg doses of Victoza achieved weight loss of 6% and 5%, respectively, compared to 2% in the placebo group, the study found.

 

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AstraZeneca, Moderna Therapeutics to develop drugs using RNA technology

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — AstraZeneca will pay $420 million to Moderna Therapeutics in a deal to develop drugs for a variety of diseases using a technology developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca said.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker said it would partner with Moderna to use the latter’s messenger RNA therapeutics technology to develop treatments for cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease, as well as cancer. The technology allows the body to produce therapeutic proteins itself, and the companies said it would open up new treatment options for diseases that can’t be addressed using existing technologies.

AstraZeneca’s payment includes $240 million upfront and $180 in milestone payments. The agreement gives AstraZeneca the option to select up to 40 drug products for clinical development, while Moderna will be entitled to development and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties.

 

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Genzyme drug shows improvement in MS patients

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Disease relapse rates and worsening of disability were low among patients taking a drug made by Genzyme for multiple sclerosis, the company said.

Genzyme, a division of French drug maker Sanofi, announced results of an extension study of the drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab). The study was a follow-up to two other late-stage clinical studies of the drug, finding that relapse rates and sustained accumulation of disability remained low among patients who had previously received the drug.

"These findings are important because they suggest that the benefits of Lemtrada as observed in the phase-3 studies are maintained, even though most patients did not receive further dosing," Multiple Sclerosis Clinic of Central Texas director Edward Fox said, presenting the results at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.

 

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