Lilly Says Its New Injectible Outperforms Three Popular Diabetes Drugs

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Good news for Eli Lilly & Co., as well as for type 2s who appreciate the addition of new drugs to treat their condition: Lilly says its once-weekly injectible drug, dulaglutide, has outperformed three other widely taken diabetes drugs in three just-concluded Phase III studies.

According to Lilly, dulaglutide, a GLP-1 analog, worked better to reduce A1c levels than metformin, Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin), and Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co.’s Byetta (exenatide). A GLP-1 analog works by stimulating the production of insulin.

Although the company reported that the three studies showed that 1.5mg injections of dulaglutide worked better at lowering A1c levels than the other three drugs, it did not report specific numbers. Also, Lilly did not test the drug against Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Bydureon or Novo Nordisk’s Victoza, two recently introduced GLP-1 analogs.

Dulaglutide’s once-a-week dosing requirement could give it a marketing edge. Each of the drugs it was compared with must be taken daily: Metformin orally twice daily just before or with meals; Byetta injected twice daily before meals; Januvia orally once daily.

Bydureon is injected once weekly, while Victoza is injected once daily.

The success of the Phase III study means that Lilly will seek FDA approval to begin marketing the drug in the United States next year.

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