Novo Nordisk has announced successful results from the SUSTAIN1 phase IIIa trial of semaglutide, which has been developed to treat type 2 diabetes.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue which helps control blood sugar levels and reduce patients’ HbA1c.
Novo Nordisk is already the manufacturer of the popularly prescribed GLP-1 analogue, liraglutide (sold as Victoza). However, whereas Victoza needs to be taken once a day, a key benefit of semaglutide is that it only needs taking once per week.
The efficacy and safety of semaglutide monotherapy was assessed in SUSTAIN1, in which type 2 diabetes patients either received the drug or placebo for 30 weeks.
Patients treated with once-weekly 0.5mg and 1.0mg semaglutide injections achieved 17 and 18 mmol/mol (1.5 and 1.6 per cent) reductions in HbA1c, respectively. The mean baseline HbA1c of the group was 65 mmol/mol (8.1 per cent). Conversely, no HbA1c changes were observed in the placebo group.
Semaglutide also led to weight loss in patients. Those on the 0.5mg and 1.0mg doses achieved weight reduction of 3.8kg and 4.6kg, respectively.
The drug was well tolerated by patients, and Novo Nordisk will further assess the safety of semaglutide in SUSTAIN2, the second of six trials of the GLP-1 analogue. The company aims to report results from the five remaining trials in 2016.
Mads Krogsgaard Thomse, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk, said: “We are excited about these results, which confirm that semaglutide has the potential to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve both good glycemic control and a significant weight loss with one weekly injection.”

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