Degludec, an ultra-long-acting insulin currently in development, shows the potential to control blood glucose levels in diabetic when injected once daily or thrice a week doses.
Compared to the currently available insulins which are given twice or thrice a day to keep blood glucose levels in check, degludec could become a great relief to diabetes patients who abhor the painful pricks.
Degludec is an insulin molecule that has a distinct mode of action that provides a smooth and stable profile.
The ultra-long clinical profile is derived from the soluble multi-hexamer formation and the continuous slow and stable release of insulin degludec monomers.
Clinical studies showed that after 16 weeks of treatment with insulin degludec, mean HbA1c reductions were similar across the once-daily and three-times-weekly insulin degludec groups and comparable to insulin glargine.
In this study, 77% of patients treated with insulin degludec three times weekly did not experience any confirmed hypoglycaemia (defined as low blood glucose levels or episodes that required assistance).
This result was similar in the study arm using insulin glargine once daily.
Of those patients using insulin degludec once daily, 92% did not experience any confirmed hypoglycaemia.
“Insulin degludec has shown the potential to help deliver improvements in glycaemic control with less than one daily injection,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk.
The low rate of hypoglycaemia after once-daily insulin degludec administration, as well as the potential to be used three times weekly in people with type 2 diabetes will be further evaluated in pivotal phase 3 trials in the BEGIN and BOOST programmes.
Insulin degludec/insulin aspart (IDegAsp), a combination-insulin with insulin degludec and insulin aspart, is being tested in the BOOST programme.
BEGIN and BOOST, involving more than 10,000 patients, is considered one of the largest ever phase 3a clinical trial programmes in the field of insulin therapy, Novo Nordisk said
It is being studied for its ability to provide the ultra-long-acting basal coverage of insulin degludec as well as a bolus boost to cover the meal coinciding with the injection.
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.