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NVO's Diabetes Portfolio Update

Zacks Equity Research

Novo Nordisk (NVO) has a strong presence in the diabetes care market. The company has one of the broadest diabetes portfolios in the industry. The company is working hard to develop its diabetes pipeline.

Novo Nordisk presented new data from a phase III study (DUAL I) on its type II diabetes candidate, IDegLira, at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (:EASD). IDegLira is a combination of insulin degludec, Tresiba and Victoza, the once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue.

The DUAL I study showed a statistically significant reduction in blood sugar levels (HbA1c) compared to Tresiba or Victoza alone, with no weight gain and a low rate of hypoglycemia.

The effects of IDegLira on fasting and postprandial glucose levels were also positive, resulting in a substantial overall improvement in glycemic control versus Tresiba or Victoza alone. Data from the study revealed that  less than 7% sugar level reduction was observed in 81% patients treated with IDegLira, 60% patients treated with Victoza and 65% patients treated with Tresiba.

The DUAL program consists of two phase IIIa studies, namely, DUAL I and DUAL II. DUAL II demonstrated that patients can realize benefits from each of the components in the combination product and reconfirmed the competitive profiles of Tresiba and Victoza.

Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes Care segment recorded sales growth of 14% in the second quarter of 2013. Modern insulins generated strong revenues (up 15%) driven by NovoRapid (up 15%) and Levemir (19%). Victoza witnessed sales growth of 32%.

Novo Nordisk carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Currently, companies like Affymetrix Inc. (AFFX), Roche Holding (RHHBY), and Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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