A recent agreement between Zosano Pharma, Inc. and Novo Nordisk could lead to the introduction of a once-weekly drug for type 2s that is administered via a micro-needle patch system.
The drug, now under development by Novo Nordisk, is semaglutide, a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) receptor agonist that the company is hoping to introduce as a one-a-week therapy. GLP-1s stimulate the release of insulin while also curbing the production of glucagon.
Current GLP-1 drugs on the market include Byetta and Bydureon (exenatide) from Amylin Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and Victoza (liraglutide) from Novo Nordisk. Bydureon is a long-acting GLP-1 that users inject once ever seven days. Novo’s introduction of semaglutide would allow it to compete with its own weekly therapy.
Where Novo could gain a competitive advantage is by offering a drug delivery method that bypasses traditional needle injection. According to Zosano, its micro-needle patch delivers therapeutic compounds through the skin, providing needle- and pain-free drug delivery. The company has tested the patch system in more than 450 patients with over 20,000 patches successfully applied in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical studies.
Under terms of the agreement, Zosano will grant Novo Nordisk a worldwide, exclusive license to develop and commercialize its GLP-1 analogues using Zosano’s micro-needle patch system.
Aside from payments to Zosano as Novo’s GLP-1 sales reach certain regulatory and sales milestones, the company will also receive royalties on sales of products, and receive development support, as well as reimbursement for all development and manufacturing costs.