The world’s largest diabetes drug-maker, Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), is reportedly looking to boost its efforts to treat obesity as the company’s well-established diabetes drugs face competition.
At Novo Nordisk’s capital markets day yesterday, CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen told investors that the company wants to rival surgery with their drugs as a solution for obesity.
The drug-maker’s first target – semaglutide.
The weekly GLP-1 injection mimics an intestinal hormone, triggering the production of insulin. An FDA advisory committee recently voted to recommend the product for approval and Novo Nordisk expects the drug to launch as a diabetes treatment early next year, according to Reuters.
The company said it plans to launch a 4,500-patient Phase III trial in the first half of 2018 to study semaglutide as an obesity treatment.
“We are making a bet on obesity, and we believe we can ride it based on lifting efficacy. And that will create the market,” the chief executive told investors yesterday, Reuters reported.
Novo Nordisk has six obesity projects in Phase I trials and two of those candidates are slated to move to Phase II in 2018, the company said.
Its first obesity drug, Saxenda, was launched in 2015, competing with products like Roche’s Xenical and Orexigen’s Contrave.
Novo Nordisk plans to combine semaglutide with new biologics to combat obesity with results that can compete with surgery. The company said it is slated to spend more than 33% of its overall research budget on obesity drugs this year.
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