Novo Nordisk has presented data from a Phase IIIa study showing that an oral formulation of its GLP-1 analogue semaglutide was better at reducing blood sugar than MSD’s DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia in patients with type II diabetes.

According to results of the 78-week PIONEER 3 study*, at 26 and 78 weeks people treated with oral semaglutide experienced statistically significantly greater reductions in HbA1c of 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent with 7mg and 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent with 14mg versus 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent with sitagliptin.

Reductions in HbA1c with 3mg oral semaglutide at 26 and 78 weeks were 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, and the reduction was statistically significantly less than sitagliptin at 26 week, but was not statistically different at week 78.

Reductions in body weight from baseline were also statistically significantly greater with 3mg, 7mg and 14mg oral semaglutide at week 26 and 78, respectively, with reductions of 1.2kg and 1.9kg, 2.2kg and 2.7kg, and 3.3kg and 3.5kg, respectively, compared to 0.7kg and 1.1kg with sitagliptin.

"With the results from the PIONEER 3 trial, we have shown that the two highest doses of oral semaglutide achieved superior improvements in glycaemic control and body weight compared to sitagliptin with a favourable safety profile consistent with GLP-1-based therapy," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo’s executive vice president and chief science officer.

"Furthermore, PIONEER 3 is an important trial, as it demonstrates long-term safety and efficacy of oral semaglutide."

The results closely follow findings of an exploratory analysis of data from the SUSTAIN 7 trial, which show greater reductions in weight across all body mass index (BMI) subgroups with Ozempic (semaglutide injection) versus Trulicity (dulaglutide) across all doses tested.

*The effect while on treatment and without use of rescue medication.