July 10 (Reuters) - Denmark's Novo Nordisk said on Friday its new once-weekly diabetes drug semaglutide worked successfully in a late-stage clinical trial, boosting hopes for a medicine seen as critical to maintaining the firm's lead in the field.
In the Phase IIIa trial, patients with a baseline HbA1c reading of 8.1 percent injected with 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg of semaglutide showed improvements of 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, compared with no change in those on placebo.
HbA1c is a commonly used measure to identify average blood sugar concentration.
In addition, from a mean baseline of 92 kg, people on the two doses of the drug lost 3.8 kg and 4.6 kg in weight, respectively, compared with a weight loss of 1.0 kg for those treated with placebo.
"We are excited about these results, which confirm that semaglutide has the potential to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve both good glycaemic control and a significant weight loss with one weekly injection," said Novo's chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drug in the same class as Novo's existing once-daily product Victoza.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Pravin Char)