Medical Innovation Exchange

Sciwind blows into GLP-1 contention with pivotal data on Chinese rival to Novo, Lilly

Sciwind Biosciences has furthered its plans to challenge Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic for the Chinese type 2 diabetes market, linking its rival GLP-1 drug to reductions in blood glucose and body weight in a phase 3 clinical trial.

Novo won approval for Ozempic in type 2 diabetes in China in 2021. Evidence that the active ingredient, semaglutide, also supports weight loss has spurred off-label use of the drug in China. Novo is yet to start selling Wegovy, the brand name for semaglutide in obesity and overweight, in the Asian country. The Danish drugmaker could face competition from Chinese rivals, including the Eli Lilly-partnered Innovent.

Sciwind is one of the companies aiming to challenge Novo. One year ago, the biotech began a phase 3 trial to compare two doses of its GLP-1 drug, ecnoglutide, to placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Now, Sciwind has top-line data from the trial. After 24 weeks of once-weekly dosing, participants on the high dose of ecnoglutide experienced a 2.43% reduction in the blood glucose measure HbA1c. The result was significantly better than the 0.87% reduction in the placebo group. Participants on the lower dose of ecnoglutide had a smaller, 1.96%, but still statistically significant reduction in HbA1c.

That pattern of dose-dependent improvements over placebo is replicated across the other data shared by Sciwind, which reported that 80.3% of patients on the high dose met the 7% HbA1c target for people with diabetes. The data suggest ecnoglutide is competitive with Ozempic and Lilly’s Mounjaro, with the caveat that comparing results between trials can give misleading impressions of comparative efficacy.

Sciwind designed the trial to show the effect of ecnoglutide on HbA1c but also looked at the change in body weight over the course of the study. After 24 weeks, subjects in the high-dose arm had lost 4.74% of their body weight, having begun with a mean of 73 kilograms. Again, the result suggests ecnoglutide is in the same ballpark as rival drugs from Novo and Lilly.

Upcoming readouts will provide a clearer picture of how ecnoglutide matches up to the competition. The biotech has completed enrollment in two other phase 3 trials, one of which is comparing ecnoglutide to dulaglutide, sold by Lilly as Trulicity, in type 2 diabetes, and another that is evaluating the molecule in people with overweight or obesity. Results from both studies are due in the second half of the year.

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