Novo CFO: Why we're not fussed about new threats to Victoza

Novo Nordisk ($NVO) isn't worried about Bydureon. That's what the company said as it announced second-quarter results last month. Now, CFO Jesper Brandgaard explains why, in an interview with Investor's Business Daily.

Bydureon, as you know, is a longer-acting version of the Amylin Pharmaceuticals GLP-1 diabetes drug Byetta. Victoza, Novo's own GLP-1 drug, is still capturing 60% of the new prescriptions in that class, while Bydureon is capturing 40%. But so far, Brandgaard says, Bydureon scripts are primarily going to Byetta patients. So, Bydureon is simply cannibalizing Byetta.

Victoza does have to be injected once a day. Bydureon is a once-a-week product. But to inject Bydureon, Brandgaard told IBD, patients have to reconstitute the product and then use a syringe--one with a higher-gauge needle. Victoza is pen-injected, using a device with a very fine needle. "You only have to dial a dose and press and button, and you basically have an injection," Brandgaard said.

Victoza's early success against Bydureon could change, however. Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) just bought Amylin, and then teamed up with AstraZeneca ($AZN) in a diabetes partnership. So, two Big Pharmas will be bringing their marketing expertise to bear. How will Victoza fare in the face of a new promotional push for Byetta and Bydureon? That's the next question.

Going forward, Novo is looking at developing Victoza combination drugs. But its key potential product is degludec, a brand-new type of insulin. After a couple of delays, it's on tap for an FDA advisory committee meeting Nov. 8.

- read the IBD interview

Related Articles:
High-flying Victoza sales push Novo's forecasts up
Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, Amylin all tout diabetes treatments at ADA
Drugmakers line up for tsunami of diabetes