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Novo diabetes drug outperforms Lilly rival at Phase 3

Published on 17/08/17 at 09:49am

Novo Nordisk has revealed that its diabetes drug semaglutide managed to outperform Eli Lilly’s own treatment dulaglutide (Trulicity) in controlling glucose levels and promoting weight loss in patients with the type 2 form of the disease when combined with metformin.

Of those taking both once-weekly medications in the recent Phase 3b trial, the group administered with 0.5mg of Novo’s drug saw a 1.5% reduction in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) compared to a 1.1% reduction in those taking 0.75mg of dulaglutide, while 1.0mg of semaglutide produced a 1.8% reduction in HbA1c, compared to a 1.4% decrease for 1.5mg of dulaglutide.

Significantly, 69% of patients treated with the lower dose of semaglutide were able to reach the American Diabetes Association treatment target of 7% or lower HbA1c, whereas this same target was only achieved by 52% in those taking the lower dose of Lilly’s drug. These figures increased to 79% and 68% respectively in the higher dose groups.

44% of those receiving 0.5mg of semaglutide achieved a 5% reduction in body weight compared to only 23% with 0.75mg of dulaglutide. This represented a 4.6kg weight loss compared to 2.3kg. In higher doses, 63% of those taking 1mg of semaglutide achieved this same goal, versus those taking 1.5mg of Lilly’s drug, representing 6.5kg and 2.0kg respectively.  

"The superior glucose control and weight loss achieved with semaglutide compared to dulaglutide in this trial reinforces the unprecedented results observed in the entire Sustain programme" said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of Novo Nordisk. "We are excited about the potential of semaglutide to set a new standard for treatment of type 2 diabetes."

Matt Fellows

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