Once a Week Insulin Shot : Novo Nordisk’s new Idea

08/10/2014 - 2 minutes

Denmark’s Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest insulin seller, is betting on a new way to stay ahead in the $40 billion-plus diabetes market by trying to develop the world’s first once-weekly insulin injection.

Almost 592 million people are expected to live with diabetes by 2035, up 55 percent from last year’s level, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Most will have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and lack of exercise.

This new product is based on super-long acting insulin known as LAI287. It is currently starting its Phase I clinical trials and could be on the market by 2020. This ambitious project remains risky because the research is still early stage. But Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen thinks it could be an opportunity for people who wish to use less needles.

It could work well for patients at the beginning of their illness, when the pancreas is still able to produce some insulin by itself, and who are not as dose-dependent as they will be later when the pancreas completely stops production.

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