Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Novo Nordisk buys Xoma diabetes program and scores trial successes

Published on 02/12/15 at 10:38am
Novo Nordisk presented Victoza data at the IDF World Congress

Novo Nordisk has announced its purchase of a type 2 diabetes diabetes program in a deal with biotech firm Xoma that could be worth up to $295 million.

The Danish firm, which specialises in insulins and other anti-diabetes products, also reported positive results from trials and studies of two of its own treatments.

The Xoma deal is for the development and marketing rights to the company’s monoclonal antibodies program known as XMetA, the lead candidate of which is XOMA 358.

California-based biotech Xoma will receive $5 million upfront and up to $290 million in milestone payments based on the success of the program, and is also is eligible for sales royalties.

Paul Rubin, who is senior vice president of research and development and chief medical officer at XOMA, comments: "XOMA's scientists probed the insulin receptor in order to identify a novel way of treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. Their work resulted in the XMetA program, a series of novel, fully human, high affinity, allosteric monoclonal antibodies that are partial agonists of the insulin receptor. Over the past few years, we have made significant progress in understanding the pharmacology of the compounds in this program.”

As well as bolstering its diabetes portfolio through this acquisition, Novo has also posted positive data from studies of its own products Victoza (liraglutide) and Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart), at the World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).


A network meta-analysis compared Victoza to SGLT-2 inhibitors, including Janssen’s Invokana (canagliflozin), Lilly and Boehringer’s Jardiance (empagliflozin) and AstraZeneca’s Forxiga (dapagliflozin). In the analysis of 17 randomised controlled trials (RCTs), Victoza demonstrated greater reductions in mean blood sugar, compared to the SGLT-2 inhibitors.

There have been no head-to-head trials comparing these treatments, but Maria Lorenzi, lead author and research manager at Redwood Outcomes, says: “In the absence of head-to-head trials, this analysis provides valuable insight into the comparative outcomes with liraglutide versus SGLT-2 inhibitiors in people with type 2 diabetes uncontrolled on oral antidiabetic treatments.”


Elsewhere, a new analyses of pooled data from five clinical studies found that Novo’s Ryzodeg achieved successful blood sugar control with significantly lower rates of hypoglycaemia (episodes of dangerously low blood sugar) and nocturnal hypoglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes versus biphasic insulin aspart 30 and/or a basal-bolus regimen of insulin degludec and insulin aspart.

The analyses of the five 26-week Phase IIIa/b trials found patients benefitted irrespective of their baseline HbA1c, disease duration or body mass index (BMI). Ryzodeg versus both comparators resulted in statistically significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and a lower insulin dose with significant differences in patients with BMI of 30 or less or a disease duration longer than 10 years.

Ryzodeg received its first regulatory approval in December 2012, and has since been approved in more than 60 countries globally. It was most recently approved in the US in September 2015 for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in adults, marking a reversal of the FDA’s original decision in 2013, when it requested additional supporting data.

Joel Levy

Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches