Novo Nordisk's NovoMix 30 significantly improves blood glucose control in type-2 diabetes patients new to insulin, whether or not they have previously received treatment with oral antidiabetes drugs, according to results from IMPROVE, the largest-ever observational study in the disease.

Data reported at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Rome demonstrated that .
after 26 weeks treatment with NovoMix 30, mean HbA1c fell from 9.4% to 6.9%, inside the American Diabetes Association and EASD target of less than 7% and approaching the International Diabetes Federation's stricter target of 6.5% or less. Overall, 57.7% of IMPROVE patients achieved HbA1c of less than 7%, and the reductions were even more marked in previously untreated patients (from 9.9% to 6.7%). These improvements in blood glucose control were achieved without an increased rate of hypoglycaemia.

IMPROVE has recruited over 58,000 patients in 11 countries and the data presented in Rome concerned a subgroup of 30,171 patients who had never been treated with insulin recruited from China, Japan, India, Poland, Italy and Canada. Novo gained European approval for NovoMix 30 in 2006 as the first premixed insulin for once-daily initiation and intensification as needed.

Positive liraglitude data
The latest IMPROVE results were further good news for the Danish drugmaker, which was already celebrating the Phase III LEAD4 study, also reported in Rome. In LEAD4, liraglutide significantly improved HbA1c, lowered weight and reduced blood pressure when added to metformin and rosiglitazone in type-2 diabetes patients. Approval of liraglutide, likely in the US and Europe in 2009, will consolidate Novo's position as a leading player in diabetes, especially in the emerging economies included in IMPROVE. By Sue Lyon in Rome