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Novo Nordisk Begins Trial with Oral Insulin

Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009

Novo Nordisk started the first human tests on an experimental insulin pill, NN1952, joining companies seeking to develop an alternative to daily injections for diabetes patients who need the hormone to control their disease. 

The trial, involving 80 people, will include diabetes patients and healthy volunteers so researchers can determine whether the medication is safe and how it works in the human body, the Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based company said in a statement today. Novo is using Merrion Pharmaceuticals Plc's Gipet technology to enable insulin to permeate the intestinal wall.

The aim of the trial, which is conducted in Germany, is to investigate the safety, tolerance, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of NN1952 in healthy volunteers and people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.. Results from the trial, which is planned to enroll about 80 people, are expected to be reported in the first half of 2011.

In November 2008, Merrion entered into a development and licensing agreement to develop and commercialize oral formulations of Novo Nordisk's proprietary insulin analogs, using Merrion's proprietary Gastrointestinal Permeation Enhancement Technology. This is the first development milestone achieved by Merrion under this agreement.

Peter Kurtzhals, senior vice president and head of diabetes research at Novo Nordisk, said, "We still have many challenges to overcome, and it is far too early to say whether or when oral insulin will become an alternative to insulin injections.... However, I am encouraged by the progress our R&D teams have made during the past two years, and which has led us to this important milestone."

Source: Diabetes In Control: News release, Novo Nordisk, Dec 2009

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