Novo shifts Victoza ad message with spots highlighting heart-benefit trifecta

Novo's Victoza is one of just two diabetes drugs with cardiovascular risk-reduction approvals. (Novo Nordisk)

Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza has been pressing its cardiovascular advantage since last year. Now, its newest TV campaign doubles down on its approved trifecta of preventative indications for heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.

Two new spots—one featuring a man and one a woman—list those three FDA-indicated benefits of the brand after asking, “Can one medicine help treat both blood sugar and cardiovascular risk?”

Victoza first addressed its CV indication in advertising in September with a branded ad, which was followed by a Novo Nordisk disease awareness campaign, “Heart of Type 2,” that encouraged Type 2 patients to talk to their doctors about cardiovascular risks.

Victoza is pressing its advantage as the only FDA-approved diabetes drug with an indication that it reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. Competitor Jardiance from Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim has an approved CV benefit indication, although just for cardiovascular death. Jardiance touts its CV benefit in a branded TV campaign and unbranded work as well.

RELATED: Victoza's triple-play CV nod sharpens Novo's edge against Trulicity

While Victoza and Jardiance work differently—Jardiance is a SGLT2 drug, which flushes excess glucose through the kidneys, while Victoza and other GLP-1s are incretin mimetics—they are the only two on the market with FDA-approved indications for heart benefits. SGLT2 player Invokana from Johnson & Johnson posted cardiovascular outcomes results last year that also pointed to reduced CV risks, but it hasn't yet won an FDA indication.

In the past 12 months, Victoza has spent more than $123 million on national TV advertising, according to data from real-time TV tracker, while Jardiance has spent more than $93 million on TV during that same time.

RELATED: Lilly nets best-case Jardiance nod from FDA, clearing reps to talk up CV risk reduction

“We are continuing the momentum for Victoza in 2018 with the ‘Change the Course’ TV campaign,” Ed Cinca, vice president of Novo's GLP-1 portfolio, said in an email interview. “There still remains an important need to educate around the link between Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and this campaign brings a fresh creative approach to this very crowded category but keeps the same educational message.”

He added that both the branded and unbranded work together reach the “many adults living with Type 2 diabetes (who) do not know they are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, never mind the fact that they now have an option to help address both conditions.”