Novo Nordisk has announced that the SUSTAIN1 phase IIIa trial of semaglutide has achieved its primary goal of reducing HbA1c in type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide is part of the group of injectable drugs for type 2 diabetes called glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1) analogues. These drugs help lower blood glucose levels in patients and can be beneficial in losing weight.

Novo Nordisk already manufactures liraglutide, a GLP-1 analogue sold as Victoza, but a primary benefit of semaglutide is that it only needs to be administered once per week. Victoza, on the other hand, has to be taken once a day.

The SUSTAIN1 trial is the first of six studies investigating the efficacy and safety of semaglutide. During the trial, type 2 patients either received the drug or placebo for 30 weeks.

Once a week, patients were treated with 0.5mg and 1.0mg semaglutide injections. The group achieved 1.5 and 1.6 per cent reductions in HbA1c, respectively, but no changes in HbA1c were observed in the placebo group.

The semaglutide patients also achieved weight loss of 3.8kg and 4.6kg, respectively, on the 0.5mg and 1.0mg doses.

SUSTAIN2 will soon be conducted by Novo Nordisk to further evaluate the safety of semaglutude. The company plan to report findings from their six trials in 2016.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk, said: “We are excited about these results, which confirm that semaglutide has the potential to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve both good glycemic control and a significant weight loss with one weekly injection.”