NICE gives Novo's Victoza expanded nod

Novo Nordisk got a boost from the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The company's new diabetes drug Victoza got the cost-effectiveness watchdog's blessing for broader use on the National Health Service. The recommendation awaits final approval in October.

Victoza has been recommended as half of a two-drug cocktail now, either metformin or a sulfa drug. Previously it was only recommended for use as part of a three-drug regimen. The new guidance only applies to the 1.2 mg daily injection; the company says it's still trying to get approval for the 1.8 mg dose. (NICE says it doesn't see a significant additional benefit from the higher dose.)

A recommendation from NICE doesn't just govern a drug's use in the U.K. It often inspires similar decisions in other European countries because the U.K. agency's rulings are closely watched by other drug regulators. And given that Novo has so much riding on Victoza's success--it recently upgraded its revenue and profits forecasts because of the drug's so-far-successful launch--a boost from NICE would be a welcome development.

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