CORRECTED-Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug succeeds in key trial (Aug 16)

(In Aug. 16 story, corrects paragraph 4 to remove reference to absorption of insulin)

Aug 16 (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk A/S said on Wednesday its diabetes drug met the main goal of reducing glucose levels in patients in a key late-stage trial, setting the stage for it to become the new standard therapy for type 2 diabetes.

The 40-week trial tested two dosages of Novo's once-weekly drug, semaglutide, in addition to initial standard-of-care therapy metformin, against Eli Lilly and Co's dulaglutide plus metformin.

Novo Nordisk said semaglutide was statistically significant in reducing glucose levels and body weight in about 1,200 patients suffering with type 2 diabetes, when compared with dulaglutide.

Semaglutide and dulaglutide belong to the same class of drugs called GLP-1, which imitate an intestinal hormone that stimulates the production of insulin.

"We are excited about the potential of semaglutide to set a new standard for treatment of type 2 diabetes," Novo Nordisk said.

Lilly's dulaglutide, which is sold under the brand name Trulicity, is one of the main growth drivers of the drugmaker's success.

Dulaglutide generated sales of $480 million in the second quarter, accounting for about half of Lilly's new product sales.

"While we project that Lilly will retain its leadership position in the once-weekly segment, Novo has made headway with its oral formulation that could potentially shift the market dynamics in its favor over the longer term," Barclays analysts said. (Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)