Novo data buttress its oral semaglutide case, this time in kidney-impaired patients

Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk's oral semaglutide topped placebo at reducing hbA1c among kidney-impaired patients. (Novo Nordisk)

The approval case for Novo Nordisk’s oral GLP-1 diabetes candidate keeps on building, this time with new data in patients with kidney troubles.

Monday, the Danish drugmaker said that in a phase 3a trial of Type 2 diabetes patients with kidney impairment, the prospect topped placebo at significantly reducing hbA1c, a common blood glucose measure, at week 26. And those in the study’s semaglutide arm recorded larger weight-loss numbers, too.

"Renal impairment is a serious diabetes complication and people with this condition have limited oral anti-diabetic treatment options, and if approved oral semaglutide represents an efficacious new solution for these people," Novo’s chief science officer, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, said in a statement.

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The data add to a wealth Novo has already generated for the up-and-comer. In June, the company rolled out favorable results pitting semaglutide against fellow Novo GLP-1 drug Victoza and Merck mammoth Januvia, a DPP-4 therapy.

But all of that clinical evidence will be key for Novo as it pushes its pill into a competitive GLP-1 market, which features stiff competition from Eli Lilly in addition to Novo’s own options. And it’ll no doubt also come into play when Novo sits down to choose a price for semaglutide, a decision that could go a few different ways.

RELATED: Novo has a big pricing decision to make with semaglutide. Which way will it go?

Novo has to “make some technical considerations,” around pricing, CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said in a recent interview, adding, “Do we price as a GLP-1, or do we price more as a tablet, or somewhere in between?”