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Novo Nordisk Diabetes Meds Shows Gains

Novo Nordisk made a big splash in the first half of 2021, thanks to diabetes superstars Ozempic and Rybelsus, as well as its new obesity treatment Wegovy. Despite the success of its GLP-1 trademark, the company isn’t neglecting its traditional diabetic products. While much of Novo Nordisk diabetes business has recently focused on its GLP-1 medications Ozempic and Rybelsus, the company is also working to keep its insulins relevant.

According to Lars Fruergaard Jrgensen, CEO and president of Novo Nordisk, the company’s phase 3 basal insulin analogue icodec might bring a “revolution” to the industry by offering patients a once-weekly choice. While insulin isn’t a new market for pharmaceutical companies, it is becoming increasingly competitive. Last week, Biocon and Viatris received FDA approval for Semglee, the first interchangeable biosimilar insulin that is based on Sanofi’s blockbuster diabetes medication Lantus.

Pharmacists can use the interchangeability tag to swap the biosimilar for Sanofi’s branded insulin without a prescription. Some industry observers have praised the clearance as a game-changer in the quest to make insulin more inexpensive, but it remains to be seen how large of a difference Semglee creates.

Fast-acting insulin products have been substituted by buyers for “years,” according to Jrgensen. The main question, according to the CEO, is whether Semglee’s FDA-approved interchangeability designation will save patients money. Apart from its weekly insulin push, Novo is aiming to receive the first data on its glucose-sensitive insulin later this year. Insulins drop patients’ glucose levels naturally, which is possibly harmful, according to Jrgensen. A glucose-sensitive insulin will help people living with diabetes significantly, and it will make insulin use much easier.

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