Novo Nordisk says degludec insulin outperforms Sanofi rival

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Studies showed Novo Nordisk's insulin degludec lowered blood sugar levels with significantly reduced rates of hypoglycaemia when compared with rival Sanofi's Lantus, the Danish firm said on Saturday.

Hypoglycaemia is the condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are too low.

Novo Nordisk, the world's biggest insulin producer, said in a statement that studies had shown degludec, an ultra long-acting insulin, improved long-term control in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is the disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels and requires treatment with insulin. Type 2 is the more common type that often can initially be managed by increasing exercise and modifying diet but may require medication.

Novo said the results, presented at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in San Diego, California, also showed it was possible to dose degludec at different times from day to day in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Novo also said studies showed its diabetes drug Victoza helped reduce blood sugar when patients with type 2 diabetes switched from rival drugs Bydureon (sitagliptin) from U.S. drugmaker Merck and Januvia (exenatide) from Eli Lilly and Co.

Although not a weight-loss product, data showed that patients experienced significant weight loss when they switched to Victoza from sitagliptin, Novo said.

Another study had shown benefits from adding Novo's insulin therapy Levemir to Victoza, it said.

"The results of this study are very encouraging," Novo Nordisk's chief science officer, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, said in the statement.

"Not only did Victoza treatment alone help more than 60 percent of patients achieve the American Diabetes Association (ADA) target for blood sugar control, but also the addition of Levemir helped many of the remaining patients achieve the ADA target without the increases in hypoglycaemia and body weight normally associated with insulin therapy," Thomsen said.

(Reporting by Mette Fraende;Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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