A major new analysis of the Danish medicinal giant Novo Nordisk by the investment bank Credit Suisse forecasts that if Novo Nordisk can get its new diabetes drug liraglutide indicated for prediabetes* and make good use of its time lead over competitors, sales could reach DKK 30bn (USD 6bn) annually, writes financial daily newspaper Børsen.
In November last year, Novo Nordisk published promising clinical results from a phase 2 study of liraglutide for the treatment of obesity in people who do not have diabetes. The study involving 564 people showed that liraglutide leads to significant weight loss, reduces blood pressure and removes signs of prediabetes.
Liraglutide is in the GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like-Peptide-1) class of drugs. US competitor Eli Lilly was first to market with a GLP-1 drug, Byetta, but Novo Nordisk's drug is reckoned to control blood sugar better and enable patients to lose more weight. Liraglutide also has the advantage of once daily dosage, compared with Byetta's twice-daily dosage.
Analysts at Credit Suisse think it will be easy for Novo Nordisk to take market share from Byetta, following a strengthening of its US sales force from 1,200 to 1,900 people during 2007. Credit Suisse forecasts that Novo Nordisk will have gained 10% of the market in 6 months and 25% in a year, thereafter peaking at 55% in 2015.
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. It also has a leading position in haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs more than 25,800 people in 79 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk’s B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London.
*Levels of blood glucose that are too high to be considered normal but not high enough to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of diabetes – Ed.