Our diabetes drug is better than yours. Novo Nordisk ($NVO) has won the right to say so, on the label of its Type 2 diabetes treatment Victoza. The change comes after a study showed it outperformed Merck's ($MRK) Januvia at controlling blood sugar and helping patients lose weight.
The Danish drugmaker can now add data from those studies to Victoza's official labeling. In a 26-week open-label trial, patients treated with two different doses of Victoza saw larger reductions in blood sugar than those treated with Merck's Januvia, the company said. "Victoza furthermore provided greater weight loss versus patients treated with Januvia," Novo said in a statement.
The label change also includes data on adding Novo's Levemir insulin to Victoza treatment in combination with metformin. Another study found that adding Levemir helped more patients gain control of their blood sugar.
After 12 weeks of therapy with Victoza and metformin--which delivered blood-sugar control for half of the patients--those who hadn't hit those targets were split into two groups, one that remained on the Victoza-metformin combination and another that added Levemir to it. After 26 more weeks, 43% of patients in the Levemir group reached blood-sugar control targets, while 17% of patients in the Victoza-plus-metformin group did.
The diabetes market is growing fast, as obesity in the U.S. contributes to rising rates of the disease, and increasing wealth in the developing world fuels diabetes development there. In addition to competing with Januvia, Novo's once-daily Victoza faces the weekly injectable Byetta, and its even longer-lasting variant Bydureon.
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