Novo Nordisk Says China Approves its Victoza Drug

Chinese regulators have approved Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s Victoza drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes, the company said on Tuesday.

“Novo Nordisk expects to launch Victoza in China in the second half of 2011,” it said in a statement.

Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest insulin producer, has already received marketing authorisation for Victoza in Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan and several other countries.

Victoza, also known by its chemical name liraglutide, is not an insulin but a once-daily treatment which stimulates the release of insulin in the body when blood sugar levels are high. It belongs to the category of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is fatal unless treated with insulin, type 2 is the form of the disease that often can initially be managed with exercise and diet but may require medication later.

“The Chinese approval of Victoza represents an exciting opportunity to further advance therapy in people with type 2 diabetes in China,” Novo Nordisk’s chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said in the statement. He said diabetes is a rapidly growing disease in China.

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