- In a 300-person clinical trial, Novo Nordisk's diabetes medication Victoza (liraglutide) did not delay death or hospitalization in advanced heart failure patients, according to data presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in Orlando.
- Novo and other diabetes drug makers are under pressure to show a cardiovascular benefit in light of recent news from Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim (BI). In August, the companies released new data showing that Jardiance (empagliflozin) decreases risk of cardiovascular (CV)-related events and deaths.
- Victoza is a GLP-1 agonist that effectively improves insulin sensitivity.
When Lilly and BI presented their groundbreaking data in August, one of the key takeaways was that Jardiance reduces heart failure-related hospitalizations by 35%.
There are some important caveats regarding the design of the Victoza trial, however. The study did not actually involve Novo Nordisk. Rather, this was an independent trial conducted by researchers from the government-funded Heart Failure Clinical Research Network. All of the patients in the study had advanced heart failure, however, not all of the patients were type 2 diabetes patients.
Novo execs had expressed some consternation that the extremely sick patients in the trial would not show the type of benefit they were hoping to see.
It should be noted that there is additional study underway investigating the effect of Victoza on CV health. Results from the LEADER trial, in which Novo is investigating the impact of Victoza on various aspects of CV outcomes, are expected by the end of Q1 2016, and will be presented at next year's American Diabetes Association's annual meeting.