Semaglutide is an oral treatment for diabetes.
Most diabetes treatments, particularly insulin, are administered parenterally. However, Novo Nordisk is developing an oral alternative that it hopes will be attractive to patients frustrated by injections. It will compete with Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Jardiance oral sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, which was approved in late 2016.
Novo Nordisk’s drug is an oral version of semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) treatment that stimulates insulin production, for which the company already has approval as a once-a-week injectable treatment (Ozempic). Ozempic was launched in February 2018 and has already captured 26% of the weekly new-to-brand prescription market share, according to Novo Nordisk.
In 2018, the company reported positive results for its oral semaglutide, compared with a placebo and Jardiance. It is now submitting the pill for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and has indicated it will use a priority voucher to reduce the time to market from 10 to 6 months.