Novo Nordisk has received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for Victoza, as a monotherapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Victoza is the brand name for liraglutide, which is indicated as a monotherapy or as an add-on to sulphonylurea and is the first glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue approved in Japan.

Novo Nordisk executive vice-president and chief science officer Krogsgaard Thomsen said that the Japanese approval of Victoza represents a major advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and an important milestone.

“Clinical studies conducted in Japan showed Victoza to provide superior glucose control with a low risk of hypoglycaemia,” Thomsen said.

Novo Nordisk expects to launch Victoza in Japan in the first half of 2010 on completion of price negotiations.