Novo Nordisk announced on Nov. 16th that a phase II trial of its injectible drug liraglutide showed it far more effective than diet drug orlitat (Xenical) as a treatment for obesity in people who do not have diabetes.
Liraglutide is Novo Nordisk's once-daily GLP-1 analogue, which has a mechanism of action similar to injectable diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide), which is already on the market. Liraglutide is currently in phase 3 development for type 2 diabetes and phase 2 development for treatment of obesity.
Novo Nordisk said its phase II obesity study comparing liraglutide to orlistat showed that liraglutide, given once daily over 20 weeks at the highest dose, led to a weight loss from baseline of just above 15 pounds compared to a weight loss of about 9 pounds in the orlistat-treated group.
"More than 75 percent of the people treated with the highest dose experienced a weight loss larger than 5 percent, and more than 25 percent experienced a weight loss larger than 10 percent relative to their body weight," Novo Nordisk said. Patients treated with liraglutide also showed improvement in systolic blood pressure, the company said.
In order to study the long-term weight reduction of liraglutide treatment, around 85 percent of all participants in the study volunteered to continue into an open label extension phase of the study, the company said.
"We are very encouraged by these new results. They give us reason to believe that liraglutide has the potential to become a new and important treatment option in the fight against serious obesity," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, chief science officer.