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Positive Trial Results for Oral Diabetes Drug

(Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk, the world's biggest insulin maker, said on Friday it had received positive results from a Phase II trial of an oral version of a long-acting GLP-1 drug for treatment of people with type 2 diabetes.

Novo shares jumped and by 1400 GMT were up almost 6 percent, hitting a record 314.90 crowns.

The results open the door to another, final phase of trials before potential regulatory approvals.

The process could take a year or more to complete, but promises to bring forward the treatment of diabetes by pills rather than injections, long considered an important step for the Danish company as well as for diabetes sufferers.

GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide-1, drugs work by stimulating the release of insulin when blood-sugar levels become too low. Novo has a strong presence in the GLP-1 market with its once-daily injection treatment Victoza.

Other drugs to treat diabetes in pill format exist, but to treat earlier-onset of the disease or different symptoms.

Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft noted the trial success moved Novo a step closer to tapping into what could be a 100 billion Danish crown ($15 billion) market for oral type 2 diabetes treatments.

Tim Race, analysts with Deutsche Bank, said should Novo proceed with developing the drug, he expected a launch no earlier than in 2020.

"Clearly further data release is required to fully understand the profile and how the drug would stack up in a largely generic oral market at the time of launch," he said.

"Feasibility is not currently fully assured given the large amount of drug substance required and the step-up in capital expenditure likely required to meet potential demand."

Reposted from Reuters

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