Hotly-anticipated data on Novo Nordisk's diabetes therapy Victoza show that the drug significantly cut the risk of major cardiovascular events and death in adults with type II diabetes.

Findings of the LEADER trial, presented at the American Diabetes Association's 76th Scientific Sessions, demonstrate that Victoza (liraglutide) slashed the composite primary endpoint of cardiovascular (CV) death, non-fatal heart attack or non-fatal stroke by 13 percent versus vs placebo when added to standard of care.

The firm said Victoza is the only approved GLP-1 receptor agonist to demonstrate a superior reduction of major CV events vs placebo, both on top of standard of care, in a cardiovascular outcomes trial.

A significant 22 percent reduction in cardiovascular death was observed in patients taking Victoza versus those in the placebo arm, while a 15 percent drop in all-cause death was also recorded.

"These findings are exciting, as it demonstrates that Victoza can improve outcomes beyond glucose reduction and weight loss by helping to avoid cardiovascular complications and death in people with type 2 diabetes," noted Dr John Buse, chairman of the LEADER Steering Committee and chief of Endocrinology and director of the Diabetes Care Centre at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

"Type 2 diabetes treatments that can also reduce cardiovascular risk are important since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide in this patient population."

The drug now joins the ranks of Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim's SGLT-2 inhibitor Jardiance with regard to offering CV benefits, offering an important advantage over other diabetes therapies given around half of diabetes-related deaths are caused by heart disease.

Victoza was launched in the EU in 2009 and is commercially available in more than 85 countries, treating more than 1 million people with type II diabetes globally.