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Novo Nordisk obesity drug is launched in the US

Published on 23/04/15 at 10:10am
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Novo Nordisk is rolling out its obesity drug Saxenda across the US for the treatment of obese adult patients.

Saxanda (liraglutide) is the first glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist for weight management and was approved in the country late last year.

The drug should accompany a regime of physical activity and a low-calorie diet for obese adults who have at least one weight-related condition including type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

“We are pleased to make this new treatment option available, which we believe has the potential to help people with obesity lose weight and reduce weight-related comorbidities,” comments Jakob Riis, who is the executive vice president of marketing, medical affairs and stakeholder engagement at Novo Nordisk.

“The launch of Saxenda is an important milestone in Novo Nordisk's long-term commitment to obesity treatment and we look forward to launching Saxenda in other countries later in 2015.”

In America approximately 35% of its adult population in 2011 and 2012 suffered from obesity, and it becomes the first country to roll out the new drug which is one of only a few new obesity pills to be approved in the US in the last few years.

Original Phase III clinical trial data in March showed that Saxenda resulted in greater weight loss than reduced calorie diet and physical activity alone. The Danish firm suggested that 63.2% of patients responded to the treatment by achieving a weight reduction of 5% or higher.

The global increase in the prevalence of obesity is a public health issue that has severe cost implications to healthcare systems. Between 2011 and 2012 nearly 80 million adults in the US lived with obesity.

According to the World Health Organization more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, are overweight, and of these over 600 million are classified as obese.

Novo claims that Saxenda which has been previously used as a diabetes treatment, has ‘blockbuster potential.’  Analysts have also predicted that it could generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm.

Saxenda is expected to be launched across several European markets over the next year or so.

Tom Robinson

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