Adocia climbs 10% after Lilly-partnered insulin clears PhIb

Shares in Adocia (EPA:ADOC) rose 10% after its Eli Lilly ($LLY)-partnered fast-acting insulin impressed in a small early-phase study. The data position Adocia to push ahead with development of a product that could surpass Lilly's blockbuster fast-acting insulin Humalog in terms of speed and effectiveness.

Adocia CEO Gérard Soula

Lyon, France-based Adocia compared its BioChaperone Lispro to Lilly's Humalog in a 38-person trial, in which participants were given a 0.2 U/kg dose of one of the fast-acting insulins just before eating a standardized meal. On average, patients in the BioChaperone Lispro arm experienced a 61% drop in postprandial glucose excursion compared to people in the study who received Humalog, an outcome that adds to the weight of evidence suggesting Adocia's product can make it easier for diabetics to prevent hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic events.

Data from the recently-completed study adds to the evidence generated in a Phase IIa trial last year that prompted Lilly to hook up with Adocia 18 months after it backed out of an earlier deal.  The Phase IIa trial linked BioChaperone Lispro to a 136% increase in early insulin exposure compared to Humalog, a result that was corroborated by and improved upon in the Phase Ib study. "The data we have generated together with Adocia is encouraging," Lilly VP David Moller said in a statement. The next step is to run further studies in preparation for a planned Phase III trial.

With biosimilar copies of Humalog looming on the horizon--the drug's U.S. compound patent expired in 2013--Lilly is under pressure to develop a product that can offset the $2.8 billion in sales it could lose if competition intensifies. For Adocia, the situation sets it up to have one of its lead prospects pushed to market as quickly as possible, something that could help it woo U.S. investors if, as expected, it files for a Nasdaq IPO later this year. Adocia also has a Phase III diabetic foot ulcer drug and several reworkings of its fast-acting insulin analog in the clinic.

The pipeline is based on BioChaperone, a technology designed to tweak the onset and duration of a protein's effect by protecting it from degradation. In the case of BioChaperone Lispro, this results in a spike in insulin levels that Adocia thinks closely mirrors the response of the bodies of healthy people.

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