Novo Nordisk outlines Tresiba's differences to best Toujeo


The FDA approved Novo Nordisk's long-acting insulin Tresiba on Friday—making it the drugmaker's first new insulin product to reach the market in 10 years.

The FDA rejected the drug due to heart-risk concerns in 2013. That denial paved the way for the entry of Sanofi's Toujeo, which was heralded as the successor to its blockbuster insulin Lantus. The FDA approved Toujeo in February.

“We've had plenty of time to prepare,” said Bill Breitenbach, VP of diabetes marketing for Novo Nordisk, who noted that Tresiba is entering an “extremely competitive marketplace.”

The drugmaker will utilize the “vast majority” of its sales force to engage both primary-care physicians and specialists in a balanced approach, Breitenbach said.

Breitenbach said he believes one of the main selling points for Tresiba is its flexible dosing options. The drug lasts 42 hours, which allows patients more flexibility when they take their insulin. Most long-acting insulins last around 24 hours. Patients are still advised to take their insulin at the same point each day.

“Having that longer duration of action allows the patient to take a dose when they remember it,” he explained.

Breitenbach said Novo Nordisk has not yet decided on a price but noted that the drugmaker believes the product's benefits “warrant a premium.”

Novo Nordisk President and CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen told investors in August that any marketing duel with Toujeo will likely come down to formulary access, saying that negotiations with pharmacy benefit managers will likely determine which product will take the majority of market share.

The company will rely on its personalized diabetes support program for patients—Cornerstones4Care—to set it apart from competitors. The drugmaker relaunched the program in November to include more customizable information. Novo Nordisk will also employ its Diabetes Health Coach service, which creates an actionable plan to help patients control their blood sugar.