Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk are aiming to be the first company to develop a GLP-1 analogue medication in pill form.
GLP-1 analogues, also known as incretin mimetics, are currently a form of injectable medication. Medications in this class include Byetta, Lyxumia and Novo Nordisk’s own Victoza. To date, these medications have needed to be injected as the body’s digestive juices are too effective at breaking down and destroying the medication.
However, Novo Nordisk have been investing a lot of research time into methods of transporting hormones safely into the blood stream via the digestive tract. In fact, in addition to working on a tablet form of a GLP-1 medication, they have also been researching an oral form of insulin.
The mid-stage trial is a phase 2 clinical study which will trial the medication in approximately 600 patients with type 2 diabetes. If the trial is successful, which is not guaranteed, larger trials would need to be run to test for safety over a longer period of time. As a result patients with type 2 diabetes currently on injectable forms of incretin mimetics should account for any tablet form of the medication to be at least another 5 years at the earliest.
The phase 2 trial will see the tablet being tested against an injectable form of the same drug. The injectable form, named semaglutide, also offers some benefits over existing GLP-1 medications as it only needs to be injected once per week. The injectable semaglutide is currently undergoing phase 3 of clinical trials.

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