Novo reps train for Victoza launch

How can a new Type 2 diabetes drug compete? Take a look at Novo Nordisk's plans for marketing its newcomer Victoza. Medical Marketing & Media reports that Novo reps are in workshops now, prepping for next month's launch. And at the top of their to-do list is highlighting the drug's potential weight-loss benefits.

One of the sales folks charged with launching Victoza, Martin Jernigan, tells MM&M that the new drug is "really about getting A1C under control" so that patients can lose weight and then enjoy the benefits of that loss. "[T]hat's what is key about Victoza," Jernigan says. A1C, of course, is a measure of a patient's average blood-sugar level over the preceding two or three months; it's an indicator of how well controlled a diabetic's blood sugar has been over time.

Novo reps will be taking that message to endocrinologists and primary-care doctors, plus hospitals and long-term care facilities. The company will have plenty of people-power dedicated to the task: It expanded its diabetes sales force to 1,900 back in 2007, and within four weeks will be set to hit the ground for Victoza. "We're now at a place where we'll have everybody trained and out the door," Jernigan says.

We're not the only ones who'll be watching just how well those reps do. Drugmakers with other diabetes meds--such as Merck, which sells Januvia, and Eli Lilly, which markets Byetta--will be watching closely, too.

- read the MM&M piece