Phase III trials begin for new oral type 2 diabetes drug semaglutide

Kurt Wood
Thu, 27 Aug 2015
Phase III trials begin for new oral type 2 diabetes drug semaglutide
Novo Nordisk has announced plans to begin a Phase III trial for an orally-administered type 2 diabetes treatment.

The drug, a GLP-1 analogue known as semaglutide, is to be taken to a Phase III trial after promising results in previous trials. The tablet, which is designed to be taken orally in order to make treatment less painful for people with type 2 diabetes, accompanies other, similar measures: last year, Novo Nordisk began work on a once-weekly insulin injection.

"The first trial in the program is planned for initiation in first quarter of 2016 and will investigate the efficacy and safety of once-daily oral semaglutide doses of 3mg, 7mg and 14mg, compared to once-daily oral anti-diabetic sitagliptin dose of 100mg," Novo Nordisk said.

"The remaining six trials of the PIONEER program are all expected to be initiated during 2016."

In July, the SUSTAIN1 semaglutide trial had promising results, accelerating weight loss and lowering HbA1c levels.

GLP-1 therapy is a promising option for people with type 2 diabetes, normally prescribed to patients who have been unable to bring their blood glucose levels under control using tablets and other oral medication.

GLP-1 therapy aids weight loss, improves glycemic control and does not often lead to hypoglycemia. Its most significant drawback has been that it needs to be injected, something which semaglutide is designed to address.

Novo Nordisk also plans to expand its drug development in North Carolina and Denmark. Over the next five years, the company will invest $2 billion on facilities in these locations, a measure which should create 800 new jobs.
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