GlaxoSmithKline has posted data from a late-stage study which shows that its investigational glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist albiglutide failed to show non-inferiority to Novo Nordisk's Victoza in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The UK major announced top-line results from the first of eight Phase III studies of albiglutide to complete in type 2 diabetes. Harmony 7,  a head-to-head study designed to compare the  once weekly GLP-1 agonist, to Novo's once-a-day Victoza (liraglutide). The primary endpoint was reduction in HbA1c, a marker of the amount of glucose in the blood.

Results showed a reduction in HbA1c of 0.78% for patients receiving albiglutide compared to a reduction of 0.99% for liraglutide. Nausea and vomiting rates were lower in patients receiving albiglutide compared to those receiving liraglutide (9.9% versus 29.2% for nausea; 5% versus 9.3% for vomiting).

However weight loss for patients receiving albiglutide (-0.62 kg) was lower than that observed with Victoza (-2.21 kg). Nevertheless, GSK still sees a lot of potential with its drug.

The firm's R&D chief Moncef Slaoui said that while non-inferiority was not met, the data support "continued progression towards registration of albiglutide as a possible future once weekly treatment for type 2 diabetes". He added that results of the remaining studies will provide a more complete assessment and GSK said  initial data from those seven Phase III studies will become available over the course of the next several months.