Novo Nordisk weighs diabetes drug's use in fatty liver disease

Reuters Health Information: Novo Nordisk weighs diabetes drug's use in fatty liver disease

Novo Nordisk weighs diabetes drug's use in fatty liver disease

Last Updated: 2015-05-18

By Reuters Staff

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk is looking into recent clinical trial data that show its diabetes drug Victoza has potential as a treatment for fatty liver disease.

Research from Britain's University of Birmingham showed last month that the drug, also known as liraglutide, resolved fatty liver disease in more than a third of patients in a small Phase II study.

The Danish company, the world's largest insulin maker, was evaluating the new research, a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

"It is very interesting, we are looking into it and we will get back if we decide to do anything," said media relations manager Mette Kruse Danielsen.

If Novo decides to pursue the use of Victoza for the condition, it could become a notable competitor in a market where many companies are now racing to develop treatments.

Frontrunners include Gilead Sciences, Intercept Pharmaceuticals and Genfit. If approved, each of their drugs could reap sales of $10 billion annually, Reuters reported last year.

"There was indeed some interesting data from the UK that we are looking into more," Novo Nordisk Chief Science Officer Dr. Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen told the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

"It was a very small patient group but I believe it is fair to say that we have been discussing this in management."

In the 48-week study, Novo's drug provided effective for nine of 23 patients versus only two of the patients receiving a placebo.

Liraglutide is a so-called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). It is marketed as Victoza for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and as Saxenda as an obesity drug.

($1 = 6.5597 Danish crowns)

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