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Novo Nordisk (NVO - Analyst Report) recently announced results on Victoza (liraglutide) from a phase IIIa study. The double-blind phase IIIa study was conducted to evaluate the potential of Victoza to induce and maintain weight loss in people afflicted with type II diabetes.

The study revealed statistically significant weight loss data. Victoza also achieved reduced glycemic control. The study was conducted on 846 obese type II diabetes patients. The patients were randomized 2:1:1 on liraglutide 3 mg, Victoza 1.8 mg or placebo. The treatment was discontinued after 56 weeks and the patients were observed for 12 weeks.

The percentage of patients achieving a minimum weight loss of 5% was 50% for Victoza 3 mg, 35% for Victoza 1.8 mg and 13% for placebo treatment. A minimum of 10% weight loss was achieved by 22% of the subjects in the Victoza 3 mg arm, 13% in Victoza 1.8 mg, and 4% under placebo.

This is the second phase IIIa trial to be completed under Novo Nordisk’s SCALE (Satiety and Clinical Adiposity – Liraglutide Evidence in Non-diabetic and Diabetic people) program.

SCALE consists of four trials enrolling roughly 5,000 people. Novo Nordisk expects to complete the remaining two phase IIIa trials by mid- 2013.

Victoza is currently approved at lower doses (1.2, 1.8 and 0.9 mg) for type II diabetes only. The 3 mg dosage is not an approved treatment yet. In 2012, Victoza generated revenues of DKK 9.5 billion.

Novo Nordisk currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Currently, companies like Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report), UCB (UCBJF) and WuXi Pharma Tech (Cayman) Inc. (WX - Snapshot Report) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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