Glaxo Doubts GLP-1s Would Be Cleared as Drugs for Obesity

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) said GLP-1 diabetes drugs, including its albiglutide experimental compound and Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOB)’s Victoza, are unlikely to win clearance to treat obesity because of effectiveness questions.

“Frankly as a class, I don’t think GLP-1s would make it as obesity medicines,” Moncef Slaoui, Glaxo’s chairman of research and development, said in an interview today in London. “Even with Victoza, personally, I would not” consider it for obesity.

Glaxo, which is based in London, plans early next year to seek regulatory approval for albiglutide, a form of a hormone called GLP-1 that stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin, as a once-weekly diabetes treatment. Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based Novo is studying Victoza, already on the market to treat Type 2 diabetes, as a potential weight-loss medicine.

Novo said in June that patients taking Victoza lost 3.9 kilograms (8.6 pounds) on average, compared with 2.9 kilograms for those taking a competing drug.

The limited weight loss, the difficulty of sustaining results and potential side effects “would be a challenge for that medicine to be approved for obesity use,” Slaoui said.

Novo Nordisk is the world’s biggest insulin maker. Victoza, a once-daily GLP-1 drug, generated sales of 5.99 billion kroner ($1.1 billion) last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kristen Hallam at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.