Watch Out Eli Lilly: Novo’s Diabetes Drug Ozempic Gets European Approval

ozempic novo nordisk diabetes

Update (13/02/2018):

The European Commission has given Novo Nordisk a market authorization for Ozempic (semaglutide), bringing the competition for Eli Lilly’s Trulicity over to Europe.

Eli Lilly executives have said that they are not worried by Novo’s competition, and keep confident on the performance of Trulicity, which now tops 40% of the market share of diabetes drugs belonging to the GLP-1 class.

Originally published on 06/12/2017

The FDA has approved Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic, a treatment for type 2 diabetes that has demonstrated better clinical results than Eli Lilly’s Trulicity.

Novo Nordisk has scored a big win with the approval of Ozempic (semaglutide) as a therapy to improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients when combined with diet and exercise. But, most importantly, the drug has been shown to work better than Eli Lilly’s Trulicity (dulaglutide) in reducing blood sugar levels and making patients lose double the weight.

Ozempic consists of a weekly injection of semaglutide, which, like Lilly’s dulaglutide, belongs to a type of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These molecules can induce insulin production while suppressing the secretion of glucagon — the hormone with opposite effect to insulin.

Ozempic semaglutide injection pen
Ozempic will be used through an injection pen like the ones diabetic patients commonly use to inject insulin

Seeing the big effects the drug had on helping type 2 diabetics lose weight, Novo Nordisk is now planning to get Ozempic approved for the treatment of obesity. A Phase III trial will be launched next year to test the drug in 4,500 patients, along with another trial to measure cardiovascular effects in 12,500 obese patients.

Though Novo Nordisk is stepping into a $2Bn market with a competitive advantage, the space is starting to get crowded, with all major big pharma launching their own GLP-1 drugs. Sanofi and AstraZeneca are already in the market, while Boehringer Ingelheim started a trial this summer with a drug that simultaneously blocks GLP-1 and glucagon.

Images via kentoh /Shutterstock; Novo Nordisk

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