Novo CEO: Victoza worth study as obesity drug

Novo Nordisk's new diabetes remedy Victoza has posted impressive uptake since its U.S. launch in February. But the company already has its eyes on broader use of the drug. Novo is eyeing the obesity-drug market, considering a Phase III trial of Victoza (liraglutide) in patients with severe obesity.

"[T]hat could eventually open a pre-diabetes market segment to us," CEO Lars Sorensen tells Dow Jones. And what a market segment it would be. With obesity an ever-growing threat in the U.S. and other mature drug markets--and a developing problem in emerging markets as well--drugmakers have been desperately seeking weight-loss drugs, to little success.

Victoza is different, Sorensen tells the news service. "Most of the other drugs you have seen having attempted to be licensed for obesity management are [Central Nervous System] drugs," he explains. "Our product is different. And with liraglutide we, of course, have the pre-clinical package already, so this will basically be a label extension, seen from a regulatory perspective."

Marketing Victoza as an obesity drug would be four or five years away, even best-case. And that's assuming that it works in clinical trials. There are some indications it would, Sorensen points out, namely a recent study in The Lancet that showed pre-diabetes patients lost significant amounts of weight while using Victoza.

- read the Dow Jones piece