Roche diabetes drug performs like a blockbuster in Ph3

Roche says that its experimental Type 2 diabetes drug taspoglutide looked effective, safe and was well tolerated in five late-stage trials. Investigators say that the data demonstrated that the therapy--which was in-licensed from Ipsen--met its endpoint target for lowering blood sugar. But the pharma giant was only issuing headline notes from the slate of late-stage studies, with details to come later.

The drug is a weekly GLP-1 analogue, mimicking a hormone that regulates insulin secretion and suppressing the erratic production of glucose in the liver. It can also slow food absorption and suppress appetite, helping patients avoid hypoglycemia.

The five studies Roche reported on this morning are part of a slate of eight clinical trials testing various doses of the drug as well as comparing its effectiveness against exenatide, sitagliptin and others. More than 6,000 patients were enrolled for all of the studies. Roche reported last December that taspoglutide proved more effective that sitagliptin in Phase III.

The drug "has the potential to become a valuable new treatment option for patients with type 2 diabetes," says Julio Rosenstock, director of the Dallas Diabetes and Endocrine Center at Medical City in Texas. Roche holds most of the worldwide rights to the drug. Teijin shares the rights in Japan, and Ipsen holds co-promotion rights in its native France.

- here's the Roche press release
- and here's the Dow Jones story