Semaglutide Posts Promising Results in Phase 3a Diabetes Trial

Patients take oral GLP-1 analogue as a single daily tablet

Taking a once-daily tablet of semaglutide led to “significant and superior improvements” in long-term blood sugar levels for people with diabetes in the phase 3a PIONEER1 trial, Novo Nordisk announced.

PIONEER 1 is the first phase 3a trial of oral semaglutide, a new GLP-1 analogue for the treatment of adults with type-2 diabetes. The global 26-week trial investigated the efficacy and safety of 3, 7, and 14 mg oral semaglutide compared with placebo in 703 people with type-2 diabetes.

Two distinct approaches to evaluating the effect of oral semaglutide were applied in the trial; a primary statistical principle required by regulatory guidelines evaluating the effect regardless of treatment adherence, and a secondary statistical principle describing the effect if people had adhered to treatment and did not initiate rescue medication.

The trial achieved its primary objective according to the primary statistical principle by demonstrating significant and superior improvements in HbA1c for all three doses of oral semaglutide compared to placebo. Moreover, the 14-mg dose of oral semaglutide demonstrated significant and superior weight loss versus placebo; weight loss was observed for the 7-mg and 3-mg doses but did not reach statistical significance.

Applying the secondary statistical principle, people treated with 3, 7, and 14 mg oral semaglutide achieved reductions in HbA1c of 0.8%, 1.3%, and 1.5%, respectively, compared to a reduction of 0.1% in people treated with placebo from a mean baseline of 8.0%. The American Diabetes Association treatment target of HbA1c below 7% was achieved by 59%, 72%, and 80% of people on treatment with 3, 7, and 14 mg oral semaglutide, respectively, compared to 34% of the people treated with placebo.

In addition, from a mean baseline body weight of 88 kg and a body mass index of 31.8 kg/m2, people treated with 3, 7, and 14 mg oral semaglutide experienced a weight loss of 1.7 kg, 2.5 kg, and 4.1 kg, respectively, compared to a weight loss of 1.5 kg in people treated with placebo.

In the trial, oral semaglutide appeared to be safe and well tolerated. The most common adverse event for all three oral semaglutide doses was mild to moderate nausea, which diminished over time. Between 5% and 16% of people treated with oral semaglutide experienced nausea, compared to 6% of people treated with placebo. Premature treatment discontinuation due to adverse events ranged from 2% to 7% for people treated with oral semaglutide, compared to 2% for people treated with placebo.

Nine PIONEER trials remain under way, with an expected regulatory submission in 2019.

Source: Novo Nordisk; February 22, 2018.