Diabetes drug Tresiba to make billions

February 1, 2016

Tresiba, the long-acting insulin that just came on the market in January, stands to net Novo Nordisk billions of dollars.

Now that manufacturer Novo Nordisk’s new insulin drug, Tresiba, is officially on the market, the company stands to sell billions of dollars worth of the long-acting insulin.

Tresiba lasts 42 hours and has a "flat and steady profile" that allows patients to dose at any time of day, according to FiercePharma. Notably, the drug is likely to generate annual sales of $2.2 billion by 2020, according to consensus estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters Cortellis, Reuters reported.

Related: FDA approves long-acting insulin drugs

Plus, Novo Nordisk plans to offer a copay discount card for uninsured patients, with copays as low as $15 per month. The manufacturer is also ”working quickly to secure coverage for Tresiba on health plans nationwide and has already secured Lowest Brand Co-pay status on the national formulary for CVS Caremark”, according to a company statement.

FDA officially approved Tresiba, insulin degludec injection and the insulin degludec/insulin aspart injection (Ryzodeg 70/30, Novo Nordisk) for the treatment of diabetes last fall.

Related: New insulin drug to enter crowded market

Novo Nordisk executives hope that Tresiba will help it better compete in the insulin market. Its current basal insulin, Levemir, has garnered only about a quarter of the share of the U.S. market. However, Tresiba faces signficant competition from Sanofi's Lantus and Sanofi’s recently-approved Toujeo. Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim also recently launched the Lantus biosimilar Basaglar, a more affordable option.

FDA rejected Tresiba’s approval 2 years ago over concerns that it could be linked to higher rates of heart attacks or strokes. As a result, FDA asked Novo Nordisk to conduct a dedicated cardiovascular risk trial.

Read more: New insulin may get speedy FDA approval