Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug also lowers heart risks

Share this article

Since Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim demonstrated that their diabetes pill Jardiance lowers the risk of cardiovascular complications, competitors such as Merck, Pfizer and Novo Nordisk have been quick to develop drugs with similar effects. Novo now seems to have reached that goal. The Danish diabetes specialist reports that their injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist Victoza cuts cardiovascular risks by 13% and lowers deaths from heart disease by 22%. With those features, Victoza effectively becomes only the second diabetes treatment that lowers heart risks. Because half of all deaths in type 2 diabetes is due to cardiovascular complications, reducing the risk of heart disease is essential to their proper care.

“For us, this marks the beginning of a new era where our R&D focus will go beyond glucose control,” remarked Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CSO at Novo. Drugs such as Victoza change the perspective on type 2 diabetes from merely controlling blood sugar levels to a more integrative management of risks of complications.

While physicians and researchers praised Victoza’s consistency and robustness in clinical trials, investors were slightly disappointed by the size of the effect. Not reaching the market expectation of mid-to-high teens percentage in decrease of heart problem risk, Novo’s shares dropped about 5%.